In the time of social media and selfies, teeth whitening has become more popular, not to mention accessible than ever. Not only do most dental practices offer professional whitening services, but you can easily purchase an at-home teeth whitening kit online that you can use on your own time.

While this accessibility means more affordability, it also leaves us open to potential teeth-harming mistakes. Here are some common mistakes to avoid making when whitening your teeth, according to the experts.

Don’t Use Whitening Toothpaste Daily

Over-the-counter whitening toothpaste (including charcoal toothpaste), when used for long periods, can do more harm than good. This is because, these whitening, stain removing types of products usually contain abrasives to create that polished effect that we all (except our enamel) love.

Continued use of an abrasive toothpaste can wear out tooth enamel and cause gum recession, exposing the root surface of the tooth, leading to painful tooth wear. Instead, use a multi-purpose toothpaste with fluoride on a daily basis. 

Speak To Your Dentist Before Whitening Your Teeth

It’s best to consult with your dentist before experimenting with any sort of bleaching methods. Your dentist will decide if you are a good candidate for whitening, and if so, they can guide you into selecting the best whitening treatment for you.

Not seeking guidance from your dentist before bleaching can have long-term negative effects. People who have tooth-coloured fillings or restorations (including crowns and veneers) in their ‘smile zone’ should limit the whitening they do. That’s because crowns, veneers, and fillings are made of either porcelain or composite materials which, unlike enamel, will not whiten and may look darker in comparison to natural teeth after whitening.

Stop Overusing Those Whitening Strips

Whitening strips are a simple and inexpensive way to brighten your smile, but just like whitening toothpaste, prolonged usage isn’t good for your pearly whites. The same goes for leaving the strips on longer than recommended. This is because prolonged usage can hurt your gums, increase tooth sensitivity, and cause bright splotches to appear, so always follow the directions that come with your whitening strips.

Avoid Those One-Size-Fits-All Whitening Trays

Everyone’s mouth is different, and using a tray that isn’t custom fit for your mouth can cause leakage of the whitening chemicals, which can lead to tooth damage and gum irritation. Additionally, saliva can deactivate the whitening properties in the peroxide.

Always Brush Or Floss First

Plaque and bits of food left on your tooth’s surface can interfere with the brightening process by preventing the whitening product from seeping into your tooth’s enamel and down to the stains, so prepping your tooth’s surface before whitening will reap the best results.

At the end of the day it’s important to bear in mind that teeth whitening should be implemented regularly in order to maintain your teeth’s colour. Things like red wine, coffee, tea, and/or tobacco will stain your teeth, so be sure to speak to your dental professional about how often you should be whitening your teeth, to keep them looking their best!