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DIY teeth whitening tips and tricks

You don’t have to shell out big bucks to have your dentist whiten your teeth. Do it yourself and use these tips and tricks to make sure you get the best results you can.

woman with green toothbrush

Brush first

If you’re using strips, trays or gels, make sure you brush your teeth thoroughly before you start. Any particles in your teeth will block the whiteners from reaching that part of your tooth, leaving you with uneven color. It’s also important to remove any oils from the surface of your teeth that could prevent the whiteners from doing their job.

Guide to brushing: Three essential steps >>

Alternate toothpastes

Toothpastes with whiteners may be very effective, but the ones that work the best can also be rough on your mouth. Consider using these pastes just once a day (or even every other day) and using a non-whitening toothpaste for other brushings.

Watch what you eat

Your teeth are most vulnerable to staining immediately after they’re bleached. For a few days after you whiten, stay away from berries, coffee, red wine, cigarettes and other things that can stain your teeth.

Five worst foods for your teeth >>

Protect your gums

Whiteners work wonders for your teeth, but they’re hard on your gums. If you’re using gels or strips, do your best to keep the product away from the tissues in your mouth.

Don’t make your own tray

If you decide to use a whitening tray to brighten your smile, resist the urge to go the less expensive way and make your own. These heat-and-shape trays are easy to use, but, if the fit isn’t perfect, you’ll end up with uneven color — and that can be even more unattractive that yellow teeth.

Is your tooth enamel healthy? >>

Whiten before your checkup

Start your whitening routine about one month to two weeks before your annual tooth cleaning. That way, you can discuss your results with your dentist and he or she can advise you of another method if you aren’t happy with the way it’s turning out.

Quick Tip

Are dark sodas and red wines just too tough to resist? Try sipping these treats through a straw to keep them from staining your teeth.

More tips for a whiter smile

The truth about natural toothpaste
Fluoride and drinking water: An ongoing controversy

Are you brushing correctly?

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