Recession Mama

{September 20, 2009}   Show Off That Smile!

Love to have a bright, white smile? Who doesn’t! But it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Here is today’s guest writer, Judy, in her own words:

Hi there, I’m Judy, Heather’s older neighbor growing up. My dad was her buddy. He was retired, so spent a lot of time puttering in the garage and Heather was always there. She’d also come to the back door during dinner and ask if Mr. “Hanglebur” (my family name is Hamburger) could play. My mom would say “Mr. Hanglebur has to finish his dinner first.”

I’ve been a dental hygienist for over 26 years so will tell you about tooth whitening on a budget. First of all, everybody’s enamel has a shade, just like your eyes and hair, not all are created equal. You need to have your teeth professionally cleaned by a hygienist; this gets off the extrinsic stain from coffee, tea, smoking. Toothpastes that say they whiten may keep your teeth CLEANER, but they don’t change the color of your teeth. If you get stain from any of the above mentioned, the trick is to brush (and floss/pick) your teeth more OFTEN to keep it off (4 times/daily for smokers).  To actually change the color, you must have a tray (preferably a professionally made one for YOUR mouth) to hold a whitening get (peroxide gels of different strengths) against your teeth for 30-60 minutes daily for 2-4 weeks. That’s my recommendation right there! Whitening products can cause sensitivity, so then you use them every other day, etc. (High acid food/drinks such as pop are the real culprit in sensitivity) The ultra-violet light activated systems that you see on makeover shows do work, but they can be painful and must be done with proper protection of the gum tissue. You then must also wear the trays for several weeks (that’s what they don’t tell you) to KEEP the lighter shade. I do NOT recommend those systems. They are much more expensive and risky. The trays have the same result but take 2-4 weeks. Also, don’t waste money on whitening paint-ons, they don’t work. The white strips are fine, but they are at a much lower percentage of peroxide and also don’t fit exactly, so get on your tissue and can cause irritation and sensitivity. So there you have it. And for what it’s worth, I like the Arm and Hammer brand of toothpaste. It has the most baking soda and keeps my coffee/tea stain off the best. Plain old baking soda is also great toothpaste, but doesn’t have the fresh flavor or fluoride! Red wine is the worst for staining; I won’t drink it in public at all!


recessionmama says:

From Heather:
I’m a faithful flosser and I have bleaching trays. But I almost never use the trays. Instead I get me teeth cleaned regularly, floss and brush with baking soda once in a while. I even floss my kids teeth. They think it’s funny. My daughter (almost 4yrs) woke up at 1:30am last week and demanded that I brush her teeth because the sitter forgot. Hopefully this will stick!

jennifer says:

Thanks for the tips. I will have to try the baking soda that sounds easily and cheap! Enjoyed hearing from you Judy, your dad was so great to Heather and I both as kids he always had time to air up a bike tire or listen to some silly kid joke. And Heather……. I caught your daughter hiding in my bathroom room eating toothpaste (her training toothpaste) this weekend so she must REALLY be into oral hygiene or maybe she just likes the taste of toothpaste!

Lydia says:

Hey Judy – thanks for the tips! And I think I would have loved having your family as neighbors…. 😉

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