Q: I’m turning 49 soon, and I’ve been a lifelong coffee and red wine drinker, and my teeth are proof! They are getting yellower with age. I used to use whitening strips from the drugstore but sometimes they make my teeth look unnaturally white. How is a professional whitening different from the strips? – Marie
A: As our birthdays go on, our teeth get yellower. Teeth whitening is very safe, the only side effect is sensitivity, but the sensitivity is temporary and it goes away in 24-48 hours. Dental professionals agree that whitening strips do whiten teeth, but the main question is also how white do you want them to be and how fast? For them to be effective you must keep up with the maintenance and use them every night. This may all add up at the end. For fast and instant results the in office teeth whitening the best option.
Another thing that must be factored in when making the decision is what are possible dental side effects to using the whitening strips? If the strips are placed on your gums they may end up causing sensitivity in your teeth and gums. It may end up feeling like the area burns a bit, so you must be careful about how you attach them to your teeth so that they fit closely to them without touching your gums because that is how the whitening process works. When the whitening strips are used, the solution is not distributed evenly on the tooth surface and the results might not be what you are looking for. During a professional teeth whitening session, the solution is evenly distributed for better results. Ask your dental professional what is best for you.
Q: Is it really that bad to not floss every day? My gums bleed too much when I floss. – Patricia
A: Flossing is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. Flossing once a day helps remove plaque from the areas between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calculus or tartar, which can lead to gum disease and cavities. Keep in mind that flossing should not be painful. If you floss too hard, you could damage the tissue between your teeth. If you’re too gentle, you might not be getting the food out. Make sure you ask your dental professional to show you how to floss properly. It’s normal to feel some discomfort when you first start flossing, but don’t give up. With daily brushing and flossing, that discomfort should ease within a week or two.
About The Expert Anaida Deti is a registered dental hygienist and the CEO of Dental X Smile Centres, a one-of-a-kind facility launched in 2013 offering dental hygiene care and cosmetic rejuvenation treatments for the perfect pout and bright smile. Deti is an active member of the Ontario Dental Hygiensits’ Association and the Toronto North Dental Hygienists’ Society. For more information, visit www.dentalx.ca.