Today, you can hardly do your weekly grocery shopping without seeing an onslaught of teeth whitening products in the supermarket. Companies are going all-out with their marketing campaigns, too, flooding the airwaves with commercials for special toothpastes, gels and easy-to-apply strips designed to lift unsightly stains from your enamel. It’s easy to be taken in by these mesmerizing products and the promises they offer. But how can you tell when a so-called “whitening” aid is actually going to help you get a better smile?

First, you need to understand exactly where yellow teeth come from. Each tooth inside your mouth has layers that can simply darken over time due to the food you eat or the beverages you drink. Coffee and tea (and cigarettes) are notorious for their staining powers, but even healthy foods like berries and beets can leave a mark on your smile after a while. Plus, time is the biggest enemy of all, as teeth can naturally yellow from the inside as you age. So, what’s the best solution for reclaiming your pearly whites? That’s what this list will help you find out.

Whitening toothpastes
You see a lot of three shades whiter sloganeering for these products, but can they really help take the place of restorative dentistry? All signs point to no. A study conducted by England’s Daily Mail showed no improvement in smiles even when the testers used it as directed. That’s not to say these toothpastes are without merit, though — regularly brushing and flossing always helps keep smiles looking better. But they’re certainly not viable replacements for professional cosmetics dentistry.

At-home whitening kits
Whether they’re simple strips or bulky trays that rest in your mouth as you sleep, these kits offer no more instant whitening than their toothpaste cohorts. Indeed, whitening strips can help lift stains temporarily, but you’re not likely to see any lasting effects without frequent use. The kits can be even worse, especially if they contain peroxide-based whitening gels. Overuse of these can lead to infections, stomach issues or worse, so it looks like it’s still better to stick to cosmetics dentistry.

Cosmetic dentistry services
OK, we’ve talked this up as the best choice of all, so it’s time to talk about exactly why. Today’s cosmetic dentistry procedures — whether they’re dental implants, dentures, root canals or simple tooth whitening — allow a person’s smile to increase in both aesthetic appearance as well as functionality. That’s how you know it’s money well spent. Bottom line: Dental professionals have years of experience and training behind every move they make and they know what’s safe for your continued oral health and what’s not. And all that needs to be taken into consideration when considering whitening your teeth.

There’s no mystery behind why teeth whitening is the most popular option in the field of cosmetics dentistry. People like to chase the “Hollywood smile” at all costs, and with professional procedures, they’re likely looking at several hundred dollars. But there’s no other way to ensure lasting shine, success and luster than putting your smile in the hands of a professional.

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