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Too Much Teeth Whitening?

Too Much Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures we offer and is one of the quickest ways of enhancing your smile. Americans spend about $1.4 billion in whitening products annually to keep their smiles looking bright. The popularity of this procedure has led to the misuse of the products and some unrealistic expectations. Bleachorexia or over whitening is an addiction to teeth whitening that has many dental professionals concerned. Over bleaching is affecting the dental health of many patients and damaging smiles instead of improving them.

Common Causes of Dental Staining

Over time, teeth will lose their luster. Heavily pigmented food and drink, normal wear, age, tobacco use, disease and certain medications can all contribute to tooth discoloration. Other factors include genetics, trauma and even too much fluoride. This is why over time, the teeth tend to dull, become yellow and lose their shine. Dental staining happens to pretty much everyone, so it’s no wonder that teeth whitening products are so popular.

How Much Teeth Whitening Is Too Much?

Most whitening products are FDA approved and safe to use if directions are followed. Unfortunately, because expectations for a whiter, brighter smile are so high, people will often misuse these products. Misuse or abuse of teeth whitening agents can cause sensitivity, oral irritation, erosion of the enamel, and teeth becoming too white.

As a general rule, dentists will whiten a patient’s smile to match or be slightly lighter than the whites of the eyes. This will draw attention to an exceptional smile without it looking fake or overdone. Unfortunately, some patients are not happy with these results. They want their teeth whiter beyond natural. Patients use teeth whitening kits to keep their smiles looking clean, healthy and young. However, teeth cannot be whitened beyond a certain point no matter how many times you use the whitening strips or gel. The truth is bleaching products do not really whiten teeth. They work by eliminating stains on the surface of the enamel.

In a dental office, teeth whitening will not be able to whiten your teeth beyond their natural coloring. The star quality smiles you see on many celebrities set high standards. Keep in mind these glowing beacons of straight, pearly whites are often accomplished through veneers or dental bonding and not whitening alone. Patients need to realize this before taking whitening procedures too far. Also, if your teeth and gums are prone to decay, sensitivity or gum disease you should have these oral health conditions treated first. Whitening will only aggravate the problem.

Tips for Healthy Teeth Whitening

  • See your dentist first and get a professional opinion
  • Follow directions on all teeth whitening products
  • Wait the proper amount of time between treatments
  • Protect your sensitive teeth
  • Do not use whitening while pregnant or nursing
  • Prolong the effects of whitening with simple lifestyle changes
  • Do not overdo it

Choosing Teeth Whitening

One of the best ways to brighten your smile is with a professional teeth whitening treatment by a dentist. These procedures are well monitored and proven effective. The concentrations of peroxide used in-office are safe and enhanced by light technology. With just one visit you can can have the smile you want and that is NOT something you will be able to accomplish with over-the-counter products.

How to Make Teeth Whitening Last

It is unrealistic to think that whitening will last if you eat junk food all day and keep up your bad habits. A few simple lifestyle changes can help make the results of teeth whitening last longer. Cutting down on coffee or tobacco use is a great start. You also need to maintain proper oral hygiene and visit the dentist twice a year for professional cleanings. You should avoid red wine, red spaghetti sauce and blueberries, and eat more strawberries, apples and celery.

The damage due to overuse of teeth whitening products can be fairly minimal and most of the problems are temporary. Sensitivity will fade with time, and damage to the soft tissue will heal. However, too much teeth whitening can leave teeth brittle and looking translucent and chalky, which is only aggravated by more whitening.

Avoid the dangers of teeth whitening and rely on your dentist for proper treatment. Don’t let a fixation on whiter teeth ruin the health of your smile.

Contact us today to consult with a dentist about the safest, most efficient way to whiten your teeth.

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