Everyone wants an attractive smile with nice white teeth and well-aligned teeth. But, not everyone is that lucky. Cavities, tooth staining, or missing or misaligned teeth can mar a person’s smile and make them self-conscious. Even if our tooth placement is not perfect, we can still have nice white teeth. It is important to use safe but effective products to whiten teeth safely. We can also avoid certain foods, products, or drinks that are known to stain teeth. Make the dentist a major part of your teeth-whitening project.
The Dentist should Be part Of a Teeth Whitening Program
Don’t try to whiten teeth without the guidance of a family dentist near me. The yearly dental exam can be a time when the dental patient asks the dentist to find out what is causing their teeth to darken. The answer may be as simple as brushing the teeth every day or getting good teeth cleaning. The patient might be eating or drinking foods or products that darken teeth. The dentist might discover the reason for the change of color to be one of the following reasons:
- Smoking and tobacco use are one of the main culprits in darkening teeth. Two chemicals found in tobacco products cause this darkening and they are tar and nicotine.
- The foods we eat and drink can cause teeth to darken. Pigments called chromogens found in foods and drinks to attach to the white part of the tooth. Tea, coffee, cola drinks, and red wine are the main tooth-staining culprits. There are also high pigment foods that can be a problem.
- Medications such as antihistamines, high blood pressure meds, and antipsychotics can cause tooth darkening. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments to the neck and head can also cause tooth darkening. Too much fluoride in the water or other products can cause tooth discoloration.
- Age is a natural tooth darkening cause as the older a person gets the more of the white outer layer of enamel wears down. Then, the yellow inner layer of the dentin shows through.
- Trauma to the head or mouth can affect the color of teeth as more dentin is produced in reaction to the injury. Tooth decay can also change the color of a tooth.
Discoloration of Teeth Can be Different Colors
The dentist might be able to tell what is causing tooth staining by the color of the stains. Staining can be yellow, brown, white spots, or black spots. Brown spots or stains can be caused by untreated tooth decay or tartar buildup as well as tobacco use, beverages, or fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, or pomegranates. Yellow stains can be caused by beverages, a diet with too much sugar, medications, chronic dry mouth, or poor oral hygiene. White and black spots can be a sign of trauma, too much fluoride, cavities, or liquid iron supplements.
Getting Whiter Teeth
Once the cause of the staining is found, treatment plans can be designed or the patient can choose from several options for teeth whitening.
- In-office teeth whitening can be done in one visit and lasts longer when paired with improved lifestyle and eating habits. But, in-office treatments can be more costly.
- The dentist can make custom teeth-whitening trays and treatments for their patients to use at home. These treatments may need to be repeated for several weeks to be effective.
- Over-the-counter products such as whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, and other products may be less costly, but they are also less effective and don’t last as long.
Once teeth have been whitened or before they are badly stained, a person should take preventative measures to avoid staining. Some strategies are as simple as drinking plain water after eating or drinking substances known to stain teeth. Brushing the teeth once or twice a day, or after eating can help keep teeth white and healthy. Quit smoking or chewing tobacco to prevent tooth staining. Visit the dentist for checkups and teeth cleaning regularly to avoid badly discolored teeth.