How to Get (and Keep) White Teeth

Even with the best care and oral hygiene routine, your teeth are still susceptible to stains and discoloration from everyday lifestyle factors like diet and tobacco use, and the normal wear and tear of aging. As you age, the enamel layer that protects the teeth becomes thinner, making your teeth more susceptible to stains. The good news is that numerous precautions and professional treatments can help brighten even the dullest, damaged smile.

Common Causes of Stained Teeth

There are two types of dental stains: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic stains are the most common, and they develop on the surface of the teeth at the enamel layer. These stains are caused by everyday food and drinks like coffee, tea, red wine, dark berries, and sauces like tomato and soy. Smoking is also a common culprit of extrinsic tooth stains. At-home treatments such as whitening toothpaste, strips and gels can help manage and somewhat minimize surface stains, but professional whitening treatments are usually necessary to fully remove stains and get significantly whiter teeth.

Intrinsic teeth stains develop deeper inside the tooth at the dentin layer, and they tend to be brown or gray in color. This type of stain usually develops from dental trauma or genetics, or as a side effect of some medication. Since intrinsic stains develop from inside the tooth, surface teeth whitening treatments are generally ineffective. Your dentist may recommend cosmetic bonding or porcelain veneers to correct intrinsic dental damage.

How to Maintain a Whiter, Healthier Smile

While some degree of staining and discoloration is generally inevitable, there are some proactive steps you can take to protect your smile. The most important step in your oral hygiene routine - brushing and flossing every day - can also help counteract some of the effects of your diet. If you drink coffee or red wine, your dentist might recommend brushing or at least rinsing your teeth shortly afterward. Regular dental exams and professional cleanings help to prevent gum disease; they will also allow your dentist to monitor your teeth and recommend the appropriate at-home and professional whitening treatment to improve your smile.

For more information about over-the-counter and professional teeth whitening treatments, contact Hintz & Oakley Family Dentistry today. Reach us at (931) 526-5460 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jason Hintz or Dr. Ben Oakley.


Sources:

  • http://www.Colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/teeth-whitening/article/tooth-discoloration
  • http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2016-archive/june/ada-develops-new-dental-standards-on-teeth-whitening-other-topics

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