Why do teeth stain?
Teeth become yellow or gray for a variety of reasons that may be behavioral or simply the effects of erosion of the enamel over time allowing more of the color of the dentin to show through.
How can I maintain the whiteness of my teeth?
There are a few different things you can do to keep your natural smile looking it’s best. You’ve no doubt heard the expression “You are what you eat…”
Turns out, this is true, at least when it comes to the coloration of your teeth.
Because your teeth are porous, they naturally absorb the liquids that you drink. Avoid consumption of or exposure to products that are known to stain teeth, such as coffee, tea, sodas, grape or cranberry juice, popsicles, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, fruits and berries (blueberries, blackberries, cherries, pomegranates, etc.), and beets.
Making some adjustments can minimize the impact of these foods and beverages, including swishing your mouth with water after eating or drinking something (or, if practical, brushing and rinsing immediately after consuming), adding milk to coffee to lighten it’s color, choosing green tea over black tea, choosing light-colored sodas, drinking apple juice instead of grape or cranberry juice, avoiding popsicles with dark coloring, switching to light-colored or creamy sauces over deeply colored sauces, adding a lighter vinegar to salads, and adding greens like lettuce and broccoli that create a film on your teeth to prevent staining from occurring. You can also use a straw so the liquid from beverages that stain bypasses your front teeth.
Foods like beets are packed with good nutrients, but they stain everything they touch. You don’t need to skip foods high in antioxidants and vitamins that your body needs just to avoid staining teeth. Research suggests that gum disease accelerates and is potentially more severe in people with poor nutrition.
You DO want to consider eliminating sodas because of the artificial sugar and acid, which are terrible for the enamel on your teeth. Foods high in carbohydrates, sugars, and starches greatly contribute to the production of plaque acids that attack the tooth enamel. “Energy drinks” can erode enamel, so drinking water during workouts is a better alternative.
The color of a drink does not always dictate the full extent to which it can stain teeth. The dark, rich color of red wine makes it an obvious culprit, but white wine actually contains more damaging acid.
What else can I do to keep my teeth white?
We recommend brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing at least once daily. Use a whitening toothpaste once a week only to remove surface stains, using your regular toothpaste the rest of the time.
Are All Stained Teeth the Same?
Whitening may be more effective on yellowish teeth than brownish-colored teeth. Grayish-hue or purple-stained teeth present the biggest challenge. Blue-gray staining can require months of treatments. In some cases, veneers, bonding, or crowns may present a better choice than bleaching. It’s also important to note that teeth whitening is not permanent as patients may expose their brightened teeth to the same foods and beverages that stained their teeth in the first place. A touch-up treatment in 6 months or after a year or two may be needed.
Can a Cosmetic Dental Procedure Whiten my Teeth?
Certainly! Tedford Family Dentistry helps our patients restore their gorgeous smiles with procedures such as teeth whitening, dental implants, dental veneers, cosmetic fillings, and contouring the shape of teeth.
Our professionally applied products meet ADA guidelines for safety and effectiveness. The first step to ensuring safe and effective us is a professional consultation. Call us at (423) 238-8887 to arrange a cosmetic dental appointment at our office at 9380 Bradmore Lane, Suite 108, Ooltewah TN 37363.