Teeth whitening is the fastest, safest way to get sparkly chompers, but it can be pricey. While you'll leave shining bright like a diamond after just one treatment, you may want to consider these in-between visit tips to keep your smile gleaming weeks later. Celebrity dentist and DDS of Cosmetic Dental Studios, Dr. Victoria Veytsman, works on some of the best mega-watt grins in the biz and she's the woman in charge of keeping The Miss Latina Organization and NY Jets and Brooklyn Nets Cheerleaders camera-ready. We turned to her for a breakdown of what to do (and not to do) when it comes to mouth maintenance.
1. Drink More Water
Water is not only good for your whole body, but it helps keep your smile bright and healthy. It can keep acid levels under control and help wash away stains. Anything that helps produce saliva helps too, such as a citrus fruit or sugar-free gum. Saliva is your friend and can greatly reduce the risk for cavities and keep your teeth from collecting stains. Some studies show eating dairy helps reduce the risk of decay and things like hard cheeses can help remove staining particles. Stay away from coffee, tea, red wine. Of course we don't expect you to give it all up completely, but brush half an hour after and drink water immediately after to help prevent stain accumulation. And definitely don't smoke! It isn't good for your body or your smile. It will leave you with stained teeth, bad breath, and an increased risk of oral cancer.
2. Choose the Right Lipstick Color
There's no question that a great shade of lipstick and nice tan can get you closer to that Hollywood smile for that special occasion or every day. To bring out the white in your smile, pick a shade of red that is blue-based. Blue-based reds tend to cancel out yellowness in your teeth. Orange/yellow-based reds will only bring out the yellowness of your teeth more. Pick reds over pinks because reds have that contrast that will really make your smile pop. If you do go with a pink, pick a berry-based pink over orange. Stay away from brown-based lipsticks because they can highlight any brown stains in your teeth. Berries are always a great choice because they have purple/blue undertones for a brighter looking smile!
3. Go For the Baking Soda
There are several ways to keep your smile bright: there's the in-office whitening procedure that gives you the most dramatic results, then take home trays your dentist can give you that are great for maintenance and can keep your smile bright between in-office whitening sessions and there are over the counter products like white strips and whitening pens that are great for keeping stains from settling into teeth. Some at-home tricks are brushing with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide—this will help remove surface stains.
4. Consider Zoom Whitening and Veneers
A common misconception is that in office whitening has to hurt. It doesn't always! About one in ten people experience sensitivity and the sensitivity will only last up to 24 hous. It is not permanent. This can also be managed with things like Advil and anti-sensitivity fluoride toothpaste. Another misconception is that a whitening treatment will get you super off the charts white teeth. This is not true. Whitening simply lifts and oxidizes that stains that have accumulated on the teeth. What is exposed after is the natural shade of your teeth without any staining on them. And since all have our own natural shade of white, it varies for everyone. We don't infuse any dyes into teeth or have much control over how light your teeth with get with whitening. The only way to really have full control over how bright your smile will be is with porcelain veneers.
5. Don't Hate Your Imperfections
Latinas like Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, Sophia Vergara and Penelope Cruz have the best smiles in Hollywood. We love Jennifer and Jessica's smiles because they look so natural! They look healthy and naturally bright. Notice in Jennifer's smile her front two teeth are slightly longer than her side teeth—this is a very youthful appearance and gives her that approachable look she has. Jessica too, has slight imperfections yet a beautiful smile that works for her. In my opinion these ladies likely have had whitenings and possibly minor contouring and bonding. Gorgeous smiles don't need to be perfectly straight across and Chiclet-like.
6. Reach For the Crest 3D White
I love Crest 3D White Luxe toothpaste. I've used it myself and have seen results. It's safe for your enamel and can remove up to 90% of surface stains if used regularly with a good toothbrush. Remember, whitening toothpastes will remove surface stains, but don't have the whitening ingredients like peroxide that whitening procedures use to get those deeper stains and true whitening effect. However, I think these are great for a boost and for maintenance!