Stains and discoloration on teeth can happen when people age, but many other causes have nothing to do with age, such as food, drinks, medications and even mouthwashes. Visiting the dentist for an in-office teeth whitening treatment is a safe, effective way to remove surface stains and brighten your smile, but there are also steps you can take at home to prevent discoloration and maintain a healthy mouth.
Foods for whiter teeth
Eating crunchy foods including apples, carrots, pears and celery trigger saliva production that helps wash away food debris from your teeth. You can also chew sugarless gum to trigger saliva, and it’s also a tooth-cleaning action. Saliva neutralizes the acid in your mouth that can cause tooth decay and cavities that discolor your teeth and damage oral health.
Whitening dental work
When you have existing veneers, fillings, crowns, bridges or bonding, store-bought tooth whitening products will not whiten the artificial teeth, which means they’ll be obvious against your whitened natural teeth. Whitening your entire smile when you have these types of dental treatments requires a visit to the dentist to investigate options for new dental work including bonding and veneers.
Preventing stains and discoloration
Avoiding and preventing stains and discoloration in the first place, is the best way to keep teeth white and healthy. Over time, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away revealing the yellower dentin underneath. Whitening teeth too often can make them appear blue or translucent, so it’s important to know what substances can cause stains including tea, coffee, dark soda, fruit juices, red wine, blackberries, blueberries, and beets. Brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking staining foods and if that’s not possible, rinse with water. Sports drinks are another oral health offender as they can erode tooth enamel with frequent, long-term use. If you consume sports drinks, don’t sip them for extended periods of time, and rinse with water when you’ve finished the drink.
Avoid tobacco use
Smoking and other tobacco products are horrible for your teeth and cause brown stains that may be impossible to remove with just brushing. The longer you use tobacco, the deeper the stains and smoking and tobacco use cause gingivitis, bad breath and increase the risk of many types of cancer. Do your oral and overall health a huge favor by looking into ways to quit smoking and other tobacco use.
Although medications are often necessary for maintaining a person’s health, they can lead to teeth stains and discoloration. Certain antibiotics, blood pressure medications, iron, antihistamines and excessive fluoride can cause tooth stains. Some antibacterial mouthwashes with particular ingredients can cause tooth stains, so consult with your dentist if he or she prescribes these. When bleaching isn’t enough to remove stains, dental bonding can help brighten teeth.
Daily oral care and dental visits
Maintaining good oral hygiene every day is a simple, easy way to prevent stains and discoloration while maintaining a healthy mouth. To further protect your shiny teeth, you can brush after every snack and meal as this prevents yellow teeth and stains, especially along the gum line. Traditional toothbrushes work, but sonic or electric toothbrush can provide superior cleaning and removal of surface stains and plaque from teeth. Visiting your dentist for regular checkups is also important, and the abrasion and polishing methods they use during professional cleanings helps remove many common tooth stains caused by food and drink.
For safe, fast and effective teeth cleaning, visit Dupont Dental for our in-office teeth whitening treatments.