Every day, we may see smiles that we admire for their cosmetic appeal. It is no secret that we are naturally drawn to bright, radiant teeth. Even infants show positive reactions to white smiles! So, when teeth don’t look as bright as we’d like or think they should, we might wonder why we drew the short stick in the Great Smile lottery. Having bright teeth is not that much of a challenge. Professional teeth whitening is both convenient and effective for adults of all ages, and possibly even some teens. If you’re ready to get your smile in order, you might want to just stop reading and contact our office right now to schedule your consultation for teeth whitening. Otherwise, read on to discover some of the most common questions people have about tooth discoloration that they aren’t asking their dentists.
What Causes Teeth to Stain?
The answer most often given for this question is that teeth can stain as a part of the aging process or because of what we eat and drink. That’s true, but there is more to it than that. The enamel that covers the softer parts of our teeth is porous. It has tiny pores just like our skin. When we eat and drink, some of the tiny particles from various substances can settle in these channels, blocking light. Where light reflects poorly on enamel, teeth look darker. Some foods and beverages are more likely to cause discoloration than others. Examples include dark sodas, richly colored berries, tea, coffee, red wine, curries, and red sauces. Discoloration may also occur when our enamel thins, which is one reason people notice their teeth dulling as they get older. That said, foods that are acidic, like vinegar and citrus fruits, when eaten in high quantities, could also lead to discoloration.
What Can I Do to Maintain a White Smile?
People often want to know how they can avoid stains. As you can see through a quick review of what causes stains, avoidance may be difficult. The next question behind the first is often related to the use of various products. Can baking soda and lemon remove stains? Can activated charcoal remove stains? They might, but usually only for a short time. Furthermore, studies suggest that these remedies might work by roughing up the surface of teeth. Basically, they are like a polish. But when a polish roughs the surface, it creates a risk of erosion and also can make the surface somewhat sticky, allowing bacteria and plaque to adhere more easily.
There are things you can do to maintain a white smile longer. The first is to brush your teeth twice a day for two full minutes. Then, floss once a day. If you use whitening toothpaste, just take care to use gentle pressure when you brush. Another way to minimize discoloration is to sip water and rinse the mouth out after you eat or drink anything colored or acidic.
Don’t Let Discoloration Get You Down If you want to revive the radiance in your smile, talk to your dentist. Contact us today to schedule your visit.