Garrison Keillor once said, “In California, virtually everyone has had their teeth whitened. If they all smiled at once, they would give us a headache!”

We all want those perfect pearly whites, but what is the best and safest way to whiten your teeth? Teeth whiteness can be affected by food and beverage stains, especially when you frequently consume drinks like red wine, coffee, and tea. To keep your teeth as white as possible on a daily basis, make sure you brush twice a day and especially after you’ve consumed these drinks before they can cause a stain! Regardless, your teeth may naturally lose whiteness over age.

There are many over-the-counter whitening options to choose from, but we recommend investing in office whitening, for 3 important reasons:

1. Your dentist can make sure your teeth are healthy enough to whiten.

It’s generally safe to whiten healthy, strong enamel, but whitening can be very hard on teeth with cavities or erosion, causing further breakdown and sensitivity.

If your teeth are experiencing breakdown of enamel in general (you can tell by their chalky appearance or brown stains) they may not be healthy enough to handle whitening, even if their appearance makes you want to whiten them more. If you experience sensitivity on a daily basis, we highly recommend speaking to your dentist first before trying out any whitening product, as it may cause even more pain.

2. Your dentist can help you moderate your whitening so you don’t overdo it.

If done too often, whitening can damage your teeth. The ingredients of whitening are powerful and can cause breakdown or weakening of the enamel and soft dentin underneath. To keep your teeth healthy, we recommend whitening no more than every six months.

3. Your dentist uses high-quality products that won’t cause damage or discomfort.

When it comes to over-the-counter whitening products, it’s a mixed bag. Some options are high-quality, and if you’re confident in their quality as well as the health of your teeth, they are safe to use.

However, keep your eye out for products that aren’t approved, are “budget” options, or seem shady. These products can definitely make things worse.

Opting for in-office whitening comes at a higher price point than over-the-counter products, and we recommend making the investment if your teeth are important to you! 

When it comes to teeth, it’s difficult and often impossible to reverse damage. In our humble opinion, the cost of over-using whitening products or using them on sensitive or unhealthy teeth is too high, so talk to your dentist today!