Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit


Home » Resources » Health » Musicians Deserve Whiter Teeth

Musicians Deserve Whiter Teeth


Being a performer usually involves dressing the part, whether it is casual, all black in the pit or a tux or black dress for a society gig. A very important part of your appearance is your smile. As you get older, your teeth get yellower. If you are interested in changing the shade of your smile, this article is a great way to get started.

Whitening teeth involves a form of peroxide that can come in different strengths, usually lower levels in over the counter products and higher strengths at the dental office. It can be applied as a strip, a gel, or liquid. The outer layer of your teeth, enamel, can stain easily and the underlying layer is very porous and made of tiny tubules of dentin that can suck up stain like a straw. Any food or beverage that would stain a white sheet will stain your teeth. The peroxide foams into the dentin and washes out the stain.

If you are considering whitening, it really makes sense to consult with your dentist first. People with sensitive teeth or gums are not candidates for this procedure until the sensitivity is brought under control. Attempting to whiten sensitive teeth, even with over-the-counter methods can cause severe pain and damage the nerves of the teeth and the gums. Also, teeth that already have crowns, bonding, or veneers are not going to get any whiter. Finally, if you have teeth that are stained due to tetracycline, you need to see a dentist especially trained in dealing with this situation.

When you go to your dentist, there are usually two options for treatment. We can make a set of take home custom trays that you wear with gel for one hour a day for three or four days. The other option is in-office whitening, where you come in and read or nap for about 90 minutes while we apply a much stronger gel to your teeth and use ozone gas to activate the gel. The ozone gas increases the ability of gel to whiten your teeth, unlike bleaching lights, which have been shown to have no effect on whitening.

How long does whitening last? That depends on what you eat and drink. People who enjoy red wine and other colorful food may find that in four to six months, their teeth have darkened a bit. In my office, you can have a set of take-home custom trays made to do one- to two-hour touch up whitening once to twice a year, or as needed.

What can you try at home? There are some people with slightly yellow teeth that respond well to over the counter products. Our favorites are Crest White Strips and The Rembrandt two-hour whitening system. Other products such as whitening toothpastes and rinses may help as well. Another option is to dip a wet toothbrush in baking soda, but not more than once a week, since it is abrasive. 

Another home remedy is this all-natural recipe:

• 2 Tbs baking soda

• 1 Tbs dried finely ground sage

• ½ Tbs sea salt

• 15-20 drops peppermint essential oil

• A sprinkle of Xylitol for sweetness (optional)

Place in a small resealable container. After brushing with your regular toothpaste, brush with this for one minute, then rinse.

Finally, you should be aware that certain foods help clean your teeth. Celery, carrots, and apples have a lot of cellulose, which scrubs stain right off the teeth. Greens, such as broccoli, spinach, and lettuce help form a film over the teeth so that food pigments can’t stain them.

Your teeth can have a base shade of white, yellow, grey, or brown. Knowing how to whiten each shade to a lovely shade of white requires experience and knowledge of all the different whitening techniques available. While there are many pop-up whitening salons that just offer whitening and cleanings, I do not suggest you seek treatment there. They are not whitening specialists and could damage your teeth. Instead, see a trusted dentist for recommendations and advice. 

Dr. Peter Silver has been a trumpet player for 44 years and a dentist for 26 years.  He loves both careers and merged them into one as the Jazz Dentist of New York City. Silver practices in Greenwich Village in Manhattan and performs regularly with his 17 piece big band Blue Nitrous. He offers musicians and their families a 20% discount. More information is available at or just call him at 212-924-6890.