Our Blog – West Mississauga Dental
Teeth Whitening Tips
The use of professional and over-the-counter teeth whitening products is on the rise. Visit the health section of almost any store and you are presented with a wall of teeth whitening products. Since anyone can pick up any product for over-the-counter use, sometimes the products are not used properly. When you obtain professional teeth whitening products for your dentist, they are always accompanied with usage instructions. Follow the whitening tips included here to improve your results and comfort while whitening your teeth.
Teeth Whitening Preparation
Before whitening your teeth, it is recommended that you have a dental check-up or exam first. Whitening or bleaching your teeth while there is dental decay or cavities present results in discomfort. Patients generally experience mild to severe pain or sensitivity if they whiten their teeth while active decay is present. A thorough dental exam will check for areas of decay that should be fixed before whitening is started.
A professional dental cleaning is also important before starting whitening treatment. Many whitening products rely on the use of a liquid or gel that makes contact with the teeth to be effective. When there is soft or hardened dental plaque build-up, the whitening product is not able to make proper contact with the teeth. A dental cleaning will remove plaque build-up and expose the tooth to the whitening product more effectively. Whitening may not be recommended for patients who have a history of sensitive teeth if they have just had a teeth cleaning.
Like mentioned above, sometimes teeth whitening must be delayed after a dental cleaning. Patients with a history of sensitivity may experience increased sensitivity temporarily after a cleaning. Use of a sensitivity toothpaste or desensitizing toothpaste after a dental cleaning is recommended. The ingredients in the sensitivity toothpaste will help to strengthen the tooth and reduce sensitivity. Use of a sensitivity toothpaste is also recommended before starting whitening and after whitening is completed. The sensitivity toothpaste helps to reduce the effects of sensitivity experienced by some patients after whitening their teeth.
Teeth Whitening Precautions
While whitening teeth and after whitening teeth, things such as wine, coffee, cigarettes and acidic foods should be avoided. Acidic foods and drinks will increase the amount of sensitivity during and after teeth whitening. Try to avoid excessively cold items as well for a few days after teeth whitening.
It is important to note that only some patients experience sensitivity or discomfort when whitening their teeth. If you have a history of sensitivity or experience sensitive teeth after whitening them, follow these tips and you will be able to achieve good results while minimizing any potential sensitivity or discomfort.
What is Saliva?
Saliva is a clear liquid that is comprised of water and other essential substances necessary for oral health. It is produced by several glands that are located in the mouth.
Benefits of Saliva
Saliva plays an integral role in helping our bodies to digest food and to help protect our teeth and keep them strong. Here are a few the functions that saliva provides:
- Lubricates the hard and soft tissues of the mouth
- Helps to remineralize teeth after eating acidic foods
- Facilitates chewing and aids in the tasting of food
- Prevents unpleasant breath
- Flushes away leftover food after eating
- Fights bad bacteria that live in the mouth
Impact on Oral Health
When there is adequate salivary flow in the mouth and a regular oral care routine, the right conditions are present for good oral health. If salivary flow diminishes, especially for a prolonged time, the risk of developing dental decay or cavities increases. Without proper salivary flow, leftover food debris will not be flushed away. Foods that have a soft and sticky type of consistency can linger in the mouth between teeth or in the grooves of teeth. These foods provide an easy source for bad bacteria in the mouth.
A constant lack of saliva will also cause the mouth to become dry, a condition that is referred to as xerostomia. Having a constantly dry mouth will result in bad breath and a parched feeling in the mouth, along with increasing the risk of developing dental decay.
What Can Be Done?
It is important to understand that the cause of a dry mouth or reduced saliva flow can be numerous. Changes in health, certain diseases, certain medications, aging naturally and salivary gland issues are common causes of reduced salivary flow. If the cause is due to the medications you are taking, your doctor may be able to adjust your dosage or prescribe another type of medication to help. If the cause is not related to medications, there are over-the-counter products that can be used to help keep the mouth properly lubricated and moist. Increasing your fluid intake and avoiding foods that act as diuretics will also help.
If you feel like you have dry mouth symptoms that persist for more than a few days, let your dentist know.