Date night on the horizon and no time for a dental smile makeover? How will you ensure that your pearly whites remain that way? Tooth discoloration is a problem that plagues most people, but reversing its effects is possible. Before we discuss teeth whitening tips to get you ready for your big date, let’s explore why our teeth become discoloured.
What Causes Tooth Discolouration?
We associate white teeth with youthfulness because when our adult teeth first come in, they are sparkling. As we age, our teeth become discoloured. There are many reasons why our teeth can turn yellow, darken or stain:
- Genetics: If you come from a long line of people with yellow teeth, you are more likely to have them too.
- Antibiotics: Although antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline kill harmful bacteria that make us sick, when given to children who have just sprouted their adult teeth, these medications can turn developing teeth yellow.
- Aging: Unfortunately, our teeth don’t always respond well to the aging process. As we get older, the enamel (the outer white layer of our teeth) disappears to reveal a not-so-bright colour underneath.
- Trauma: If, for instance, you fall or receive a hit to the face from playing a contact sport, your teeth may not recover properly and darken a few shades.
- Radiation treatment: Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are known to change tooth colour.
- Neglecting your oral health: If you do not have an oral health routine in place, your teeth will suffer. This includes brushing, flossing and mouthwash usage (more on this in the tips below).
Neglecting your overall health: Everything is connected, so if you don’t take care of your body, your teeth will suffer by darkening and eventually falling out. Neglecting your overall health includes eating sugary and processed foods, and smoking.
It’s normal for an adult to have dark, yellow or stained teeth. However, you don’t have to live with them. Here are seven tips to prolong your pearly whites:
- Brush twice a day: As mentioned above, you need a comprehensive oral care routine. You must brush your teeth twice per day for an average of 2-4 minutes (as recommended by the Canadian and American Dental Associations). Moreover, you must brush your teeth properly by ensuring that every surface of every tooth gets its fair share of care. Ask your dentist to show you the proper teeth brushing technique.
- Pick the right toothpaste and mouthwash: Not all toothpastes are created equally. When in doubt, go with a brand name that has fluoride and not necessarily one that is supposed to whiten your teeth. Also, ask your dentist which brands they trust. The same goes for mouthwash. You need to follow up your brushing with a swig of mouthwash, so it’s important you’re using one that does more than freshen breath. It has to kill bacteria too.
- Floss properly: White teeth are teeth that have been flossed. During one of the two times you brush your teeth in a day, you need to incorporate flossing. Floss before you brush to ensure that any food particles that are stuck between your teeth are removed. You should also ask your dentist to show you the right way to floss. Unfortunately, most of us are doing it wrong, and the only way to really get between your teeth is to use the right technique.
- Stop smoking: You already know that smoking causes cancer, but did you know that it ruins your teeth too? The use of tobacco products, especially cigarettes, will turn your teeth a nasty shade of yellow.
- Get a checkup: To keep your teeth white, visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning procedure.
- Professional whitening only: Do not use over-the-counter whiteners. Whitening products that are sold in pharmacies can ruin your gums. When you get dental smile makeovers from your dentist, their in-house whitening products are designed to safely whiten your teeth without hurting your gums. Moreover, the whitening kits sold at drugstores are one-size-fits-all and not customized to your mouth. The whitening trays your dentist will use are created specifically to fit the contours of your mouth.
- Keep stains away: Some of the foods we eat and drink will stain our teeth. Stay away from sugary beverages like wine, pop and sports drinks. The same goes for coffee and tea. Furthermore, foods like grapes and strawberries, which are good for you, can also stain your teeth. You don’t have to give up berries and other fruits, but you should drink water after eating them to reduce staining.
If you’re interested in our dental smile makeovers, please contact us. At Dawson Dental we offer professional teeth whitening services that will give you a radiant smile and ensure you are ready for date night.