If you’re looking in the mirror and noticing your teeth aren’t quite as bright and pearly as you remember, it’s possible that all those years of unrestrained coffee drinking have finally caught up to you. Having slightly stained or discolored teeth after years of wear is totally normal and it shouldn’t be a major concern unless your teeth and gums are also sore, inflamed, or bleeding. However, discolored teeth can become a major insecurity for some people, causing anxiety and apprehension in social situations. Luckily, there are lots of ways to get your smile back to its original radiance both at home or with a doctor.
What is teeth whitening?
To understand how teeth whitening works, you need to know how your teeth get discolored. There are many reasons your teeth could be stained or discolored. The most common being the consumption of highly pigmented foods and beverages. Coffee and tea, in particular, are full of tannins, a compound that is notorious for penetrating the porous outer layer of teeth to cause long-lasting stains. Other examples of brightly colored foods that can stain include tomatoes, beets, and berries. Excessively smoking or chewing tobacco can also cause the teeth to yellow because your teeth are exposed to harmful chemicals.
Of course, genetics are also a huge factor to how your teeth look, so don’t feel down if your smile isn’t as bright as you’d like. It’s doesn’t necessarily represent your dental health or certainly doesn’t represent who you are on the inside.
Regular brushing and flossing are great preventative measures for your dental health, but they can’t remove deep stains. Teeth whitening is a popular way to remove stains and make teeth whiter. There are many ways to approach teeth whitening, but the most popular methods contain either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide to break up staining compounds in the tooth enamel. These chemicals are able to penetrate the enamel without damaging it. You can ‘find them in the form of different products, such as whitening strips, gels, trays, and mouth washes.
For patients who prefer a more natural approach to teeth whitening, you can also try oil pulling or activated charcoal. These methods won’t have as drastic overnight results, but with regular use, they can help you brighten up your smile.
Are teeth whitening treatments safe?
Not all teeth whitening treatments are made the same. Beware of products that promise extreme results as they may contain harmful, harsh ingredients. Before purchasing any products or services, research that method and brand to make sure it’s the right option for you. The American Dental Association is a great resource to learn more about teeth whitening.
If you choose a “DIY” product at home, it’s imperative to follow the directions exactly as they are written. Failure to do so could potentially turn a safe product to a toxic one. For example, leaving on whitening strips too long can cause gum irritation. Discontinue use of the product immediately if you feel extreme pain or bleeding.
Which type of tooth whitening method should I choose?
Every person is different, so what you need really depends on your specific circumstances and preferences. Besides yourself, your dentist is the best person to ask this question. Dentists are medical professionals who have extensive training and experience with general and cosmetic dentistry. In fact, you can even get a teeth whitening treatment from your dentist. Most offices, including Glendale Holistic Dentistry, provide excellent teeth whitening options. Dentist also have the right equipment and experience to properly use higher levels of the teeth whitening treatment for better results than at-home solutions offer. Check them out:
- Zoom Whitening: As the name suggests, this method performed in a quick, single, in-office appointment. The doctor can reverse all teeth staining by carefully applying a special hydrogen peroxide whitening varnish on the teeth. Then a special light is placed on the teeth to speed up the process.
- Zoom 2!: For patients who have sensitive gums and teeth, Zoom 2! is the option for you. Even better, this treatment is 33% faster than original Zoom treatment, so you can get where you need to be as soon as possible
If you’d rather not spend precious time at the dentist’s office, you can ask for a personalized deep bleaching at-home treatment. At Glendale Holistic Dentistry, our doctor can create custom-designed whitening trays for you to use in the comfort of your own home. Wear them every night for incredible results in just 2 – 4 weeks.
How often should I get my teeth whitened?
Some teeth whitening treatments can and should be used every day for best results. Oil pulling, activated charcoal, and special toothpastes gently remove stains on a daily basis. Products with fluoride or calcium carbonate are also generally safe enough to use regularly because they whiten the teeth by strengthening the enamel.
Anything with harsh chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, should be used sparingly. Since at-home products have lower amounts of these chemicals, they can be used every few months for a touch up. An in-office treatment every few years should be more than enough to keep your teeth gleaming because it’s much stronger.
Whitening your teeth too often can make your teeth and gums sensitive. It can even wear away the enamel, making it more vulnerable to cavities and staining. In fact, enamel loss can reveal more dentin, a naturally yellow substance, so overly whitening the teeth would have the opposite of its intended effect.
How do I keep my teeth white post-treatment?
The best way to keep your teeth white is with proper dental care! Brush, floss, and use fluoridated mouthwash to keep your teeth squeaky clean and sparkling. Another component of dental care that shouldn’t be overlooked is regular dental checkups. The dentist can identify any issues early on and advise you how to keep your smile strong and beautiful.
Diet and nutrition also contribute to teeth staining (or the lack of it). Brightly colored foods and drinks, whether they’re natural or artificial, can seep through the porous layer of enamel and create stains if they’re not rinsed away after consumption. Ideally, we would recommend brushing and flossing after every meal, but that’s not always viable. Instead, you can rinse with water or mouthwash after meals to get reduce the risk of staining your teeth. Chewing on sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva and wash away unwanted food debris and bacteria as well.
Sugar is a major cause of tooth decay and discoloration. It’s present in all types of foods, including candy, fruit, and bread. Cut down your sugar consumption to keep your teeth strong, healthy, and white. Drinks such as coffee and juice are also full of sugar and tannins. To prevent staining, drink through a straw or stick with water.
Everyone deserves to feel confident in their smile! At Glendale Holistic Dentistry, we provide both general and cosmetic dentistry services, so you can feel healthy inside and outside. If you’d like a teeth whitening appointment, call us for a consultation today! We also provide dental checkups, cleanings, implants, and more.