Brushing and flossing three times a day is a routine that was instilled in us from a young age, but it takes more than diligent scrubbing to keep our teeth light and bright. “A lot of the foods and drinks that you consume contain color-agents that could potentially stain your teeth,” said Abida Malik, Dental Hygienist at ConfiDent Dental Clinic in Dubai. Key foods and drinks to avoid include coffee, tea, and richly pigmented fruits such as blackberries and pomegranates. “On that note, crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples are mildly abrasive, meaning that they sweep bacteria and plaque right off the teeth,” chimed in Dr. Michael Apa, Celebrity Cosmetic Dentist who splits his time between New York and Dubai.
“It’s advised that you get your teeth whitened at least once a year,” suggested General Dentist, Dr. Anton de Waal, “Although, how often you opt for a teeth-whitening session depends on your lifestyle habits.” Aside from your diet, these include how regularly you visit a dental hygienist, and your overall oral health. “Typically, I’d advise patients to schedule a teeth-cleaning session once or twice a year,” adding, “Results are dramatic, immediate, and last up to a year.”
An average whitening session is quick, and takes about 45 minutes. Ahead of your appointment, consider scheduling a thorough cleaning to ensure that your dental hygienist has a clean, smooth surface to work on for optimal results. “You shouldn’t experience any pain, however you might have mild teeth sensitivity the next day,” says Ms. Malik, “but it’s normal and will subside after 24 hours.”
When it comes to maintaining a bright smile well after a lightening session, Dr. de Waal recommends using toothpaste that isn’t abrasive. His expert tip: “When selecting a product, take a pea-sized drop of the formula between your fingers; if it has a sandy texture, this means it’s too harsh and could damage the enamel of your teeth.” Along with supercharged toothpaste, Dr. Apa strongly suggests “Invest in an electric toothbrush.”
As for at-home whitening kits? Dr. de Waal recommends these only for those with healthy teeth. “If you have clean teeth, you can opt for at-home systems with a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide,” he explained.
Dr. Benny Sjöberg, General Dentist, has different views. “One should avoid over-the-counter teeth-whitening kits because they aren’t strictly regulated, and contain high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide,” he said, meaning they can potentially deteriorate your teeth overtime. His advice? “Stick to a professional, expert-formulated whitening system.”
Below, three teeth whitening formulas that will give you a camera-worthy smile from home.
Apa White Duo
US $150; AED/SAR 551
An at-home teeth-whitening kit that features a brightening pen and strips, which should be used in combination for five consecutive days to mimic professional teeth-whitening results. To use, coat your teeth with the carbamide peroxide-infused gel dispensed from the portable pen before applying the white strips. Leave on for 90 minutes then remove.
US $40; AED/SAR 147
A trio of fluoride infused, teeth-whitening toothpastes that are compact enough to fit inside your purse. A pea-sized amount is all that is needed for a visibly brighter smile.
GLO Brilliant Whitening Device Mouthpiece and Case
US $85; AED/SAR 312
An LED-light-and-heat-activated mouthpiece that, when used for thirty minutes (in eight minute intervals) for five consecutive days, will make teeth up to four shades lighter without tooth sensitivity. Tip: Make sure to thoroughly rinse your mouthpiece after each use.