Almost everyone wants whiter teeth, or at least to learn how to keep their teeth their whitest. But how do you do so without having to spend a lot of money? And what if you have sensitive teeth?
As a mom partially fueled on coffee (which you may have noticed if you’ve followed my blog for a while), I know the struggle of keeping one’s teeth white and bright! However, after some trial and error, I’ve figured out a few ways that have worked well for me (and what doesn’t). Here I round up 6 ways I keep my teeth their whitest, plus 5 myths about teeth whitening!
6 Ways I Keep My Teeth Their Whitest
1. I brush more than twice a day.
Whenever I am able, I brush my teeth after every meal, not just morning and night. I just can’t stand my mouth not being clean and fresh, so I will brush after eating, or whenever I feel my mouth needs “freshening up.” This is helpful because it reduces the staining and damaging effect of foods and beverages on my teeth by getting rid of any residue right away.
Plus, certain foods support the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. For example, consuming a lot of sugar increases the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the primary type of bacteria that causes plaque and gingivitis. It’s always a good idea to brush your teeth after consuming anything, especially sugar!
2. I brush with a baking soda toothpaste.
Since my early 20s, I’ve noticed I have sensitive teeth. Regular toothpaste caused me tooth pain due to the sensitivity, so I used sensitive toothpaste for years, like Sensodyne and Colgate Sensitive. And to keep my teeth whiter, I tried the whitening versions of these sensitive toothpastes. But my teeth never got as white as I wanted.
Finally, just on a whim I tried Arm & Hammer baking soda toothpaste, Just by itself, it whitened my teeth better than any whitening toothpaste did, and it didn’t bother my sensitive teeth! This was about 5 years ago, and I’ve been happily using Arm & Hammer baking soda toothpaste since with no sensitive issues. The baking soda really does remove stains, and it’s gentle on my sensitive teeth. Plus, they do now have sensitive versions of their toothpaste, so there’s no excuse not to be able to use it.
3. I drink coffee iced, and other teeth-staining drinks through a straw when I can.
No one can get this mama to give up my mochas, but I know that there are ways to minimize coffee’s direct contact with my teeth. For one thing, I drink coffee and tea iced whenever possible (bonus: fewer calories because it’s diluted with ice!).
4. I take care of my health, and I don’t smoke.
This means eating healthfully, exercising, and not smoking, to name a few. I’m DEFINITELY not perfect here though, as I do enjoy sweets, and don’t workout quite as much as I’d like to. But I’ve cut back a lot on fruit juices and sodas, which I used to love but cause teeth staining just like coffee and tea. (Plus they’re mostly empty calories.)
5. I visit the dentist regularly.
Of course, I get my teeth cleaned and checked twice a year. Not just for good health, but in cleaning my teeth, they can typically better than I can at home.
6. I occasionally use an at-home teeth whitening product like Smile Brilliant.
Sometimes, I like to “touch up” my teeth’s whiteness with a product that I can use at home. I don’t want to spend a lot so I haven’t done any special treatments at the dentist or anywhere else, which can be pricey. However, I also don’t want to use a cheap product at home that will make my teeth sensitivity worse, or potentially do damage.
Years ago I tried Crest Whitestrips at home because they were popular and cheap, but instantly this caused sensitivity pain. So I couldn’t use them. Actually, this was when I realized I had sensitive teeth, so I pretty much gave up on at-home teeth whitening products for a while.
Then recently I learned about a product called Smile Brilliant. Smile Brilliant is a teeth whitening system that uses custom-fitted teeth whitening trays. These cost hundreds of dollars if you get them at the dentist, but Smile Brilliant costs $139 – $189 for everything you need to get the stains out, and you can do it at home. That’s more than some over-the-counter option at the store, but it’s effective, safe, and I know it works.
To use Smile Brilliant, you first make “molds” of your teeth at home, which is actually super easy. You just mix the base and catalyst pastes, put them in the blue trays and wear them for a few minutes as they get hard. Then you send them in the prepaid envelope and within a couple weeks you get your custom-fitted trays.
To whiten, you put the whitening gel in the trays and wear them for 15 minutes to 3 hours, depending on how long you can tolerate them. After you use the whitening gel, you put desensitizing gel in the trays and wear them for at least 15 minutes. This helps “remineralize” your teeth and reduce any issues of sensitivity.
I have never been able to wear both the top and bottom at the same time, so I alternate wearing the top one day with wearing the bottom the next, and have worked up from 15 minutes to about an hour and a half. At first they made me salivate a lot, but my mouth did get used to them, and I (almost) forgot I was even wearing them.
And I haven’t had much of an issue with sensitivity – I did have some sensitivity in my lower teeth, even with the desensitizing gel, but it was mild and went away within a day.
Overall, Smile Brilliant works, but it takes time. Typically it takes 7-14 days to get rid of staining. The less you’re able to wear the trays each session, the longer it will take, but I do notice my teeth are whiter even after just a few treatments. And they have great reviews on their website and all over the web.
Here are 5 myths about teeth whitening!
TEETH WHITENING MYTHS DEBUNKED
1. Not all teeth will be a perfect white. Some people naturally have enamel that is darker. This cannot change. The only way you will know is if you eliminate all the stains using a professional product like Smile Brilliant.
2. If you have tooth sensitivity during whitening, it’s normal and will go away. This is true with all whitening products.
3. Products like whitening toothpaste or charcoal teeth whitening are highly abrasive and will wear down your enamel leading to ongoing sensitivity.
4. Whitening is a process and cannot be done overnight. Each time you whiten, you’re removing years of stains. If you are sensitive, just go slower but do more applications.
5. Your teeth are always restaining and will need maintenance. Your first 7 to 12 sessions should remove all the stains you’ve acquired over your lifetime. Thereafter, you may only need to whiten 3-4 times per year to maintain that. It’s important to have a product (like custom whitening trays) that you can keep forever and use whenever needed.
To save 15% off on any Smile Brilliant product, use my coupon code: twincitiesfrugalmom15 on their website.
I am excited to partner with Smile Brilliant to give away a $149 Smile Brilliant credit! The giveaway is on their website, is open for 1-2 weeks and they will contact the winner directly.
To enter, visit this link and enter your name and email. It’s that simple!
- It’s open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents.
- By entering and providing your email address, you are giving Smile Brilliant permission to send you occasional promotional emails. However, you can unsubscribe at any time.
Here’s the direct giveaway link: www.smilebrilliant.com/g/
(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no cost to you, and Smile Brilliant provided me with product to facilitate this post. All opinions are 100% mine.)