Although many dentists are not seeing patients for elective or cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening, there are several products you can try at home to keep your teeth bright and white during self-isolation.
1. Professional bleaching kits
Some dentists offer a customized home whitening kit to their patients that can be just as effective as an in-person whitening session. These kits contain professional grade peroxide-based gels and cleaners that are the same products the dentist uses to clean teeth. You just have to pour the gel or cleaner into a custom fit tray designed to fit perfectly over your teeth. The tray needs to stay on for minutes to hours depending on the cleaner and the level of staining.
The trays require a custom fitting that might not be possible for you to have right now, but some dentists are making professional grade tooth whitening kits that are safe to use at home without the custom fit tray. You can call your dentist or set up a teledentistry appointment if you want to talk with your dentist about a professional grade home whitening kit.
2. Brushing and flossing
Personal hygiene can start to slip when you’re at home for weeks at a time. The Internet is full of memes and jokes about people not showering or brushing their teeth for days during the COVID-19 quarantine. Simply brushing your teeth twice a day with an electric toothbrush and using floss daily can keep your teeth healthy and white. Even if you do decide to use whitening products, you still should be brushing and flossing daily both for the health of your teeth and to keep your smile looking good. Make it a priority to maintain your personal grooming standards like you did before the quarantine period began.
3. Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes
Most whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes use hydrogen peroxide as the main whitening agent. These products are not going to remove years of stains or any deep-set stains and shouldn’t be used for long-term whitening. However, they can make your teeth look whiter and brighter in the short term. So if you want to give your smile a quick whitening before you jump into your next video conference call, brushing your teeth or rinsing with a whitening mouthwash can you give you a temporary whitening boost that will make your smile look better on camera.
4. Home whitening trays, pens and strips
There are many different types of whitening products that you can get at the grocery store or pharmacy. Whitening trays, gel whitening pens, tooth whitening strips and products like these are designed to provide a longer lasting whitening that will get rid of built up or older stains on teeth. But do they work? Many of them do if you use them as directed on the packaging. If your dental insurance doesn’t cover professional whitening treatments or if you’re stuck at home and want to try some over-the-counter whitening products to get rid of old stains while you’re in quarantine, you can use over-the-counter home tooth whitening trays, pens and strips. Just make sure to use them as directed on the package.
When you are choosing home whitening products for teeth always look for the American Dental Association seal of approval on the package. The ADA seal shows that the product has examined by a panel of dental professionals and they have done the scientific testing to show that it is safe and effective.
Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice. This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.