Both men and women are attracted to a pearly white smile according to a study in the Plos One journal. Evidence suggests that teeth act as a human “ornament display,” which in biological terms is a trait that signals information about genetic quality, developmental history, and current disease state to prospective partners and potential rivals.
In other words, bright, shiny teeth can help you get lucky on Valentine’s Day. Here are a few points to ponder if you’re thinking about whitening your dazzling display.
What Causes Stain
Tooth enamel can get the “eww factor” and become discolored over time. Foods containing high color content contribute the most. Some of these food items include blueberries, tomato sauce, curry, beets, coffee, tea, and red wine. Tobacco products can also contribute to unawesome looking chompers.
How Whitening Works
The main ingredient to most whitening toothpastes, over-the-counter (OTC) whitening strips, and dental office treatments is hydrogen peroxide. Dental offices offer the safest and most effective whitening procedures. Under the supervision of a dentist, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide is higher and the material is held optimally against the surface of the teeth.
Bleaching Dental Work
Whitening materials do not work on dental work such as crowns, caps, fillings, overlays, inlays, onlays, sealants, or veneers. If you have a crown or veneer on a front tooth, make an appointment with your dentist before you whiten your teeth.
Most whitening pastes are stingy with the hydrogen peroxide levels. Most offer only 1.5%. If your teeth have a serious patina problem, brushing with a whitening paste won’t work. Also, these materials have been known to contain abrasive ingredients and can cause gum damage if used incorrectly.
Gels and Strips
Over-the-counter products typically offer 7% to 10% hydrogen peroxide. It’s important to read the label and use as directed. Teeth can become unevenly white. Painful tooth aches and gum irritation are possible side effects.
Most dental offices offer custom tray and whitening systems to take home. These are more costly than over-the-counter solutions but the results are more captivating.
In-office teeth lightening at your dental office offers the best results in the least amount of time, and the treatment is typically very relaxing. There are many types of in-office whitening treatments and many advantages to having your teeth professionally lightened. Laser treatment is growing in popularity, as it is fast (about 8 minutes) and safe. It's considered ideal for patients with teeth sensitivity.
Whiter teeth are prettier teeth. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, “Your smile creates an immediate, subconscious, visual impact on people you meet.”
If Cupid isn’t shooting his arrow your way this year, whitening is still a good idea. Research and studies indicate that yellow teeth are a ginormous turnoff to a job interviewer. It ranks right up there with a limp handshake or not bathing. In short, a bright smile is perceived as a healthy smile.
Long term results are different for everyone. Consult with your dental professional to learn which whitening treatment is best for you.