A brighter, whiter smile is what half of America is searching for. Some have found it, some have not. The key is not in these high dollar teeth whitening treatments that you can buy at the store; the key is in how you take care of your teeth by what you eat, drink, and if you properly clean them. Below are some tips on what to avoid and what to take up when trying to whiten your teeth.

Try not to use over-the-counter whitening products without first consulting with your dentist. A lot of the times, these products’ harsh chemicals can actually damage your teeth, far from the intended benefits. Your dentist will be able to help you determine if your tooth enamel is strong enough for OTC treatments.

When whitening your teeth, you’ll find that you get the best results if your teeth are yellowing. You’ll get medium grade results if your teeth are brown. If your teeth are grey, you’ll get the least results. Keep this in mind when you’re shelling out money to whiten your teeth.

Approximately half of all patients who try some sort of whitening treatment, especially those at home, will experience some level of tooth sensitivity as a result. If this happens to you, try lowering the concentration of the product that you are using, and see if that corrects the problem.

Avoid drinking coffee, tea, cola, and wine unless you are drinking water with them or immediately afterward. These dark liquids have been shown to permanently stain and discolor teeth. Rinsing your mouth with water afterward can reduce these effects, as can brushing your teeth after your morning coffee, as it removes the staining chemicals from your mouth.

If you are using a home whitening product, make sure that you follow all of the directions. Instead, this will likely irritate your mouth, cause gum inflammation and may even harm your teeth. Only use whitening treatments as recommended, not longer or more often.

If you are using a bleach or bleach alternative in your whitening process, be careful not to over do it. Too much bleaching can be harmful to your teeth. It is also important to know that if used too much you can pass the whitening stage and create a “blue” color to your smile from over-bleaching. Be cautious when using bleaching products.

One of the most effective ways to naturally whiten your teeth is to use a mixture of lemon juice and salt. You can make this up and keep it in a jar in your bathroom and use it a few times a week. Be sure to rinse your mouth out thoroughly after you are done to prevent damage from the acids in the lemon juice.

As previously stated, white teeth are in high demand by most of America. There are costly ways to go about whitening your teeth, then there are smart ways. Of course, the smart ways are best. The costly ways may be easier, but could hurt your teeth in the long run, not to mention your bank account. If you follow the aforementioned teeth-whitening tips, then you should be well on your way to achieving those beautiful pearly whites you have always dreamed of.