If you've ever dyed your hair, it wasn't necessarily about wanting a bold new look. It might have been about wanting to cover up your grey hairs—about returning your appearance to its former state, rather than going in a new direction. The same can be said about teeth whitening. You want your teeth to have a healthy white glow, just as they once did. Teeth can lose their lustre with age, and this can be made worse due to staining from what you eat and drink. Your dental enamel (the surface which covers your teeth) actually contains a multitude of miniscule ridges and pits, which can trap the colour pigments in food and drink, leading to a cumulative discolouration effect. Professional teeth whitening can efficiently and instantly return your teeth to their former glory, but as is the case with most things in life, it doesn't last forever. Once you've gone to the effort of having your teeth whitened, how do you go about keeping them that way?

Repeating the Process

The simple fact is that teeth whitening needs to be maintained, meaning that if you want to keep your teeth beautifully white, you are likely going to need the procedure again on an infrequent basis. But how infrequently? There are too many variables, but a lot of it depends on you. For example, if you're someone who enjoys red wine and cigarettes, chances are that you'll need to have your teeth whitened again sooner than someone who abstains from these staining indulgences. Prior to whitening, your dentist can probably give you a rough estimate about when you should consider the procedure again, but your best indication is inspecting your teeth in the mirror and deciding yourself when it's necessary.

Whitening Toothpaste

Periodic professional whitening does most of the heavy lifting, but you can also do some basic maintenance work yourself. It might feel instinctive to simply embrace whitening toothpaste and use it vigorously and often. Some thought is required, since this might not be the best course of action for your teeth. Whitening toothpastes can be abrasive and potentially damaging to your dental enamel, meaning that a short-term goal can result in long-term complications. Ask your dentist about the best schedule for using whitening toothpaste, and it might be a case of using it every second day, or on a few, selected days each week. It's about achieving the desired aesthetic effect without compromising the health of your teeth.

Rinse and Spit

But what about that red wine and cigarettes? Even if you don't partake in these particular items, it's not as though you can abstain from all food and drinks that leave remnants of their pigments in your enamel. Get into the habit of rinsing your mouth with water after consuming anything with the potential to stain. Sure, it's not like you can do this each time (it's not exactly practical to rinse and spit when you go out for coffee), but certainly do it when you're at home. Doing it some of the time is infinitely more effective than not doing it at all.

Although teeth whitening will likely need to become a semi-regular occurrence in your life, you can form healthy dental habits that will help to maintain the wonderful look of your teeth.