Stained teeth can be unsightly and can spoil a great smile. Dental staining is often caused by the things we eat and drink, or from smoking, and these habits can be hard to change.
The good news is that there are dental treatments available to get that white smile back. You can also follow some simple steps at home to help prevent those bothersome stains from returning. Let’s talk about how to achieve this and where you can go to brighten your teeth and keep them that way.
Teeth Whitening Treatments
There are a number of products and treatments available to reduce or eliminate dental staining, and they can vary in strength, type, time required, cost, and effectiveness. They are not permanent, and they may require reapplication in due course. It is recommended to seek advice from your dentist before using over-the-counter anti-staining products such as gel whiteners, whitening toothpastes, whitening strips, and tray whitening systems, because they may harm any existing dental work you may have.
Your dentist can offer a whitening gel treatment, as this protects your gums from irritation while offering better effectiveness than off-the-shelf dental trays. Professional teeth whitening methods are performed by your dentist in the office, and they use a bleaching process that is quick and easy and requires no messy trays to wear.
Some treatments can work effectively in as little as one appointment, and they can make your teeth many shades whiter than before – offering dramatic results. Other whitening methods may require a series of short office visits, and you and your dentist can discuss which one would work best for you.
Preventing Dental Stains
The best and most effective way to prevent dental stains in the first place is to give up smoking, to avoid consuming too many colorful foods and drinks, and to practice good oral hygiene.
Nicotine and tobacco products contain particles that stick to the tiny pores within tooth enamel and tooth surfaces, thereby leading to dental stains. This staining can build up with repeated use, and it can also become more difficult to remove over time.
Foods and Drinks that Stain Teeth
High-staining foods and beverages include coffee, tea, soda, sports drinks, red wine, certain fruits and fruit juices (such as cherries, pomegranate, grapes, and cranberries), beets, and sauces such as those made from tomato or soy.
Good Oral Hygiene
Bacteria in the mouth, when mixed together with food particles, can form plaque on the teeth. When residual plaque reacts with minerals in the saliva, it can harden (mineralize) and turn into tartar – which is an even more permanent coating on the teeth than plaque.
Plaque and tartar can weaken tooth enamel and can thus allow acid-producing bacteria to attach to teeth and cause staining and decay. Practicing good oral hygiene can keep your teeth healthy and prevent staining and decay. Ensure that you:
- Brush your teeth for 2 minutes at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss at least once per day
- Use a fluoride-based mouthwash every day (not recommended for children under age 6)
- Regularly visit your dentist for dental exams and professional cleaning
- Rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking high-sugar or high-staining foods
Cosmetic Dentistry in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
If your smile is lacking luster, call Hagerman Dental Care. Dr. Hagerman uses the most advanced in-office teeth whitening system, and he offers many other cosmetic dentistry procedures to help you achieve the smile you have always wanted.