Professional vs. DIY Whitening: Which is Better?

If your pearly whites are not as bright as you want them to be, then you probably know that the best solution for this problem is teeth whitening in San Diego.

But with many options ranging from laser whitening to the less expensive at-home kits, how would you know which one is the best for you.

To help you decide, here are some factors that you should consider when choosing between professional whitening and DIY whitening.

Budget:

If money is the main problem, then DIY whitening is the best option you have. At $15 to $100 tops, they are much cheaper than professional whitening, which costs at least $500 to more than $1200.  The only downside is, you will have to use the DIY whitening kit every day for a couple of months to weeks – but the results are guaranteed.

Meanwhile, you usually need only one appointment for professional whitening.

A severity of Discoloration:

If your teeth are mildly discolored, then DIY whitening must be enough for you. However, if the discoloration is moderate to severe, professional whitening may be required because it uses whitening agents that are in much stronger concentrations. This whitening agent is activated a laser light to produce the whitening effect.

Teeth Whitening

Some causes of severe discolorations, however, may need the combined effect of both professional and DIY teeth whitening.

A risk to Dental Health:

The most common side effect of whitening procedures to the dentition is sensitivity which, although short-term (lasts for a day up to four days), can sometimes be uncomfortable for the patient.

Since professional whitening uses stronger whitening agents, sensitivity tends to be worse compared to that of DIY whitening, which has very minimal to none.

Another common side effect is an irritation to the surrounding soft tissues. Which, again, tends to be worse in professional whitening. Your dentist can avoid this by putting a protective gel on the gums.

But if the irritation persists and/or get worse after the procedure, be sure to inform your dentist right away.

Expected Results:

Professional whitening can lighten the teeth by up to seven shades lighter than its original color. Meanwhile, the whitening solutions used in DIY whitening may be too mild to produce dramatic results, especially on severely-discolored teeth. Then again, professional and DIY whitening may be combined if you’re looking for dramatic improvements.

How to Maintain Teeth Whitening :

Teeth whitening treatments, be it professionally-performed or DIY, don’t last forever and will have to be touched-up at some point.

On the average, professional whitening can last up to a year, while DIY whitening can only last half that time.

Take note that these durations are only the average, and can be shorter and longer depending on several factors. These include diet, habits, and oral hygiene practices to name a few. If you smoke and/or consume dark-colored foods and beverages,(i.e. berries, coffee, tea) on a regular basis. Then you will be needing touchups much sooner and more often.

On the other hand, good oral hygiene practices shall make the whitening effect last much longer.

Top 5 Foods that Help Bust Bad Breath

We all know how foods like onion and garlic cause bad breath due to the pungent oils they produce. Fortunately, there are also foods that have the opposite effect. These foods can help bust bad breath, but only temporarily – like an hour or two. Nonetheless, this is already enough time until you are able to do something about the real cause – the odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. And dentist San Marcos helps you all time.

Green Tea

We are all aware of the many health benefits green tea has, so it is not surprising that this wonder beverage can also fight bad breath. The bad breath-fighting ability of green tea is attributed to the chemical called catechin. Catherine is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight the bacteria that causes the foul odor. This compound is effective not only against odor-causing bacteria but also against other harmful bacteria in the mouth.

In fact, according to some sources, green tea is more effective than mints in masking bad breath.

In addition to fighting bacteria, green can also reduce the amounts of volatile sulfur compounds in the mouth, which is the actual cause of the bad breath.

Parsley

Parsley is another popular remedy for bad breath, next only to green tea. Its odor-fighting ability is due to a compound called chlorophyll, which is found mostly in green and leafy plants. Chlorophyll has a strong scent that follows the sulfur compounds all the way to the bloodstream and lungs, thereby masking the smell when you breathe.

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Yogurt

Yogurt contains live cultures of good bacteria that can effectively combat the bad bacteria that cause foul breath. In addition, it can neutralize the volatile sulfur compounds, particularly hydrogen sulfide, produced by these bad bacteria. But to be more effective, you have to consume one that’s free of sugar.

Fibrous Fruits and Vegetables

Fibrous fruits help get rid of bad breath by mechanically removing bacteria much like brushing does. They also stimulate the production of saliva which helps wash away the odor-producing bacterial by-products. Apples, pears, carrots, celery, and cucumbers are the most effective for this purpose.

Nuts

Nuts like almonds and walnuts work in pretty the same way as your fibrous fruits and vegetables because they are also loaded with fiber. Likewise, they are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can help reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth.

Take note that while the foods listed above are effective in masking foul breath, they should not, in any way, be a substitute for your oral hygiene practices. The solution they provide is only temporary. The more permanent solution is (and always will be) brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. When brushing your teeth, be sure to brush your tongue as well because it is where odor-causing bacteria thrive the most.

Furthermore, visit your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleaning. If your bad breath remains persistent, your dentist San Marcos will refer you to a medical doctor because the foul odor could be a sign of something else.

Things You Should Know About Toothpastes

toothpaste. This toothbrush buddy comes in many forms, and they contain different ingredients. There are ordinary toothpastes, and there are ones formulated for your special needs. Learn more about this oral health goodie below.

What is Toothpaste Made up of?

Different toothpastes contain different list of ingredients, but the general components include the following:

  • Abrasives – along with your toothbrush, aid in the mechanical removal of debris and surface stains.

  • Fluoride – makes the teeth stronger by rendering it more resistant to the acids produced by decay-causing bacteria.

  • Humectant – retains water and prevents your toothpaste from drying out and getting lumpy or gummy.

  • Detergent – acts as foaming agent that helps spread the toothpaste around the mouth; it also has some cleaning action.

  • Binder – thickening agent; it helps stabilize and hold the toothpaste formula together.

  • Flavoring Agents – add some sweetness and scent to your toothpaste, making it more pleasant to use.

Why are Some Toothpaste More Expensive than Others?

Even though they have the same basic ingredients, not all toothpastes are created equal. Depending on the type of toothpaste, some special ingredients are added for increased benefits, hence the higher price. These include ingredients that are especially formulated for tartar control, whitening, and relief of sensitivity. More often than not, the most expensive toothpastes are the ones for sensitivity.

What are the Different Types of Toothpastes?

Toothpastes are classified based on what oral health problem they were formulated for. These types include:

  • Fluoride Toothpastes – these are your ordinary toothpastes which are formulated to fight and prevent tooth decay. As the name suggests, the main ingredient is fluoride. Fluoride strengthens the enamel and makes it less susceptible to tooth decay. And if tooth decay is already there, fluoride toothpastes may also aid in the arresting the decay process.

  • Tartar Control Toothpastes – these toothpastes do not move tartar deposits per se; rather, they work to remove as much plaque as possible to prevent further tartar buildup. Some manufacturers claim that this type may also work to soften the deposits.

  • Whitening Toothpastes – if you’re looking to give your smile a little bit of sparkle, then this type of toothpaste is your best bet. Whitening toothpastes have more abrasives than ordinary toothpastes, allowing them to be more effective in removing surface stains. Some may also have bleaching ingredients like peroxides, or polishing agents that makes the teeth shinier.

Take note that whitening toothpastes are intended only to restore the natural color of your teeth. It won’t make your teeth any whiter than its natural shade.

  • Desensitizing Toothpastes – this type is prescribed for individuals who experience sensitivity, either as a result of tooth decay or gum disease.

Desensitizing toothpastes contain compounds that work to physically block the exposed tubules of the tooth. These tubules connect directly to the nerves in the pulp, causing sensitivity. Blocking these tubules brings quick relief from sensitivity.

Which Type of Toothpaste is the Best?

The best toothpaste for you depends on what your oral health needs are. But no matter which one you choose or which one your dentist prescribes, always make sure that it has a seal of approval by the American Dental Association.

Caring For Your Toothbrush

A good oral hygiene plays the most important role in taking care of your pearly whites. But to keep your teeth healthy for longer, you also have to do proper care and maintenance of one of the tools that helps you do so – your toothbrush.

Here are some general considerations on how to take care of your favorite oral hygiene buddy, as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).

NEVER Share Your Toothbrush with Anyone.

The oral cavity is loaded with millions of microorganisms that may potentially cause infections, both oral and systemic. And these could be transferred to your toothbrush during use.

Sharing your toothbrush with anyone results in the exchange of these microorganisms between users, putting everyone at risk for infections. But individuals with compromised or weakened immune systems or have existing infections are at greater risk.

Rinse Your Toothbrush Thoroughly After Every Use.

Rinse your toothbrush under running water after brushing to wash off any remaining toothpaste and other debris.

Some individuals soak their toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash, while others use commercially-available sanitizing solutions for toothbrushes. Both methods are acceptable. A dishwasher may also be used, but not for long periods.

Allow Your Toothbrush to air-dry After Rinsing.

Put your toothbrush in an upright position and let it air-dry until your next use. If two or more toothbrushes are stored in the same holder, keep them apart to prevent cross-contamination.

Avoid storing your toothbrush in closed containers. A closed container provides moist environment which is conducive for growth of microorganisms.

Use Proper Brushing Techniques.

How well you care for your toothbrush is just as important as the care you give your teeth. When you brush, do it gently using short strokes instead of long, hard strokes. Vigorous brushing makes the bristles get worn easily.

Replace Your Toothbrush Every 3 to 4 Months.

Even if you follow all the tips given above, they would still be useless if you don’t replace your toothbrush on a regular basis.

The ADA recommends getting a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or as soon as the bristles start to look worn and discolored from everyday use. Worn toothbrushes clean much less effectively, particularly on areas where plaque accumulates the most – underneath the gums and in between the teeth.

Now, the rates at which toothbrushes wear out depend on factors unique to every individual.

Check your toothbrush regularly, look out for signs of wear, and replace as needed. Even if you don’t see any obvious signs of wear and tear, you still need to change your toothbrush regularly because they often have microorganisms which can build up to significant levels over time.

Children’s toothbrushes may need to be replaced more frequently than adult brushes. Also, you may have to replace your toothbrush much sooner if you get colds or other viral infection.

But no matter how often you get a new toothbrush, replacing them ensures that you have a clean, efficient brush that will optimally clean your teeth and provide you with a healthy smile for life.