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3 Ways To Whiten Your Teeth At Home After Quitting Smoking

Smoking is associated with a number of health concerns, including many problems that affect your teeth. After you quit smoking, you may want to reverse some of the changes that smoking has caused inside your mouth, like your discolored teeth. When you smoke, nicotine and tar can make your teeth turn yellow or brown, but now that you've quit, a number of treatments can be used to return your teeth to their previously white color. Here are three ways that you can whiten your teeth at home after you quit smoking.

Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes are designed to whiten your teeth at home. These toothpastes have abrasive ingredients like hydrated silica or silca gel. These abrasive ingredients scrub away stains on the surface of your enamel. You can pair these toothpastes with whitening floss to make sure that your entire tooth surface is targeted.

Using whitening toothpaste is very simple. You just need to replace your current toothpaste with a whitening toothpaste and use it twice per day. Whitening toothpastes can generally whiten your teeth by about one shade. These results aren't dramatic, but they're enough to be noticeable.

Since whitening toothpastes are abrasive, they shouldn't be overused. If you use these toothpastes for too long, you could irritate your gums or damage your tooth enamel. The instructions on the toothpaste tube will let you know how long you can use the product for.

Tooth Whitening Strips

Tooth whitening strips are another popular way to whiten your teeth at home. These strips have a whitening gel on one side and work by bleaching away stains from the outer layer of the enamel. Two strips are provided: one for the top teeth and another for the bottom teeth.

To use these strips, apply them gel-side down onto your teeth. Leave the strips in place for the amount of time suggested on the package; this varies by brand. After the required time has elapsed, remove the strips. You should see results in about a week, though this can vary depending on how stained your teeth are.

Whitening strips can provide dramatic results, and these results can last for up to a year. But using these strips too often can make your gums sore or your teeth sensitive, so don't use them for longer than recommended.

Whitening Trays

Whitening trays are mouthguard-like trays that fit on top of your teeth. The trays hold whitening gel in place and can bleach surface stains on your enamel. You can purchase one-size-fits all trays from your local pharmacy, but for a better fit, your dentist can also make you a custom-fitted tray.

First, apply the provided whitening gel to the upper and lower trays. Next, place the trays on top of your teeth, just like inserting a mouthguard. Leave the trays in place for the time recommended on the package; just like with whitening strips, this time can vary by brand. After the time has elapsed, take out the trays. Whitening tray systems can give you dramatic results, just like whitening strips.

If you wear whitening trays for too long, your jaw may get sore. The whitening gel can also irritate your gums or make your teeth sensitive. You can prevent gum irritation by using a custom-fitted tray from your dentist.

Now that you've quit smoking, take steps to return your teeth to their pre-smoking white color. Your dentist can help you determine if tooth whitening is safe for you, and if so, which home treatment option is most appropriate. If you're having trouble whitening your teeth at home, your dentist can also offer professional whitening treatments. 

Talk with a professional dentist for more information, options, or additional reading.