A recent study indicated that 6 out of 10 Americans believe a whiter smile would boost their self-confidence and the over the counter tooth whitening industry has soared to over $1.4B annually nationwide. America wants whiter teeth! If you are concerned about the overall appearance of your (not so) pearly whites, you may be surprised to learn what are the culprits of teeth staining and what you can do to prevent and/or treat your teeth for a whiter smile!
What Causes Teeth Staining?
Although teeth staining can occur naturally with age, there are many common foods, drinks and other culprits that can cause our teeth to lose their luster. Knowing these culprits is the first step in obtaining a whiter smile, as you have to know what you are fighting against!
As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears thin. The underlying later, called dentin, is less white and more yellowish than the exterior layer. By taking care to maintain the enamel on your teeth, you can slow down this process to lengthen the whiteness of your smile.
Smoking is a terrible offender to the whiteness of your teeth. The tobacco causes brown stains that penetrate the small grooves and pits of your tooth enamel. Simply brushing will not remove these stains, which become further entrenched the longer you maintain a smoking habit. Stop smoking for your health and for your smile.
What you Eat and Drink
Whether good for you or not, some foods and drinks simply have the potential to stain your teeth more than others. If a food can stain your clothes, it also likely has the potential to stain your teeth. Although you may not want to stop eating certain foods simply due to their color, you can minimize staining by following a few simple guidelines. When consuming dark beverages, limit the amount of time you enjoy them, rinsing your mouth with water when finished. Also, after enjoying dark colored foods that have the potential to stain your teeth, be sure to brush your teeth immediately afterward and rinse your mouth with water to minimize their staining impact.
Antibacterial Mouthwashes and Antibiotics in General
If you have received any type of oral surgery, you may have been prescribed an antibacterial mouthwash. This wash often has the potential to stain your teeth. As well, some antibiotics and other meds also cause staining on your teeth as a side effect. Although you may not be able to stop their use, you can talk to our office about bleaching options or dental bonding if the staining becomes a significant issue.
How Can I Whiten my Teeth?
At Home Treatments: There are a number of at-home treatments you can buy, including whitening kits, whitening strips, whitening toothpastes and rinses. All of these treatments lighten stains using a mild bleaching agent or abrasives/cleaners on the surface of the teeth and may be a good option for minor staining in an at-home setting.
There are other possible treatments that may also help whiten your teeth, such as:
-Brushing with a paste of baking soda and water on a regular basis. Baking soda (known as sodium bicarbonate) is a great mild abrasive which can effectively remove surface stains from your teeth and make them appear whiter.
-As well, chewing sugarless whitening gum in between meals can help slowly whiten your teeth and/or minimize the effects of certain foods or drinks on the surface of your teeth. Not only will this help remove excess food debris from your teeth, the excess saliva will neutralize the acid that causes tooth decay. That is a win!
Professional Treatments: Professional whitening is a great option, especially if you have significant staining. Professional, in-office tooth whitening is a safe procedure under carefully monitored conditions that allows for safe administration of bleaching agents that yield immediate visible results to help you get the results you want in the minimum amount of time. If you’d like to discuss these options with our team, we would be glad to help you determine the best choice for you for the results you are seeking.
River Valley Smiles is here to help you achieve and maintain the smile you have always wanted and we are concerned about your overall oral health.