You have a big meeting the next day so you go to bed early. In the morning, you have breakfast then brush your teeth. Your hair’s looking good and everything is fine until you rinse and notice how yellow your teeth have gotten. When did that happen and how can you fix it?
Staining occurs so gradually that often we don’t notice until our teeth are several shades darker. Although cosmetic dentistry can help, understanding the mechanism behind staining and adopting small habits can keep your teeth bright and gleaming long into the future.
Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow in the First Place?
Staining can be attributed to several different factors, but in general, there are only two types of stains: intrinsic and extrinsic. These affect different parts of the teeth, and are triggered in different ways.
Intrinsic stains are akin to wrinkled skin or gray hair. These stains happen on the inside of teeth, known as the dentin, and are caused by bruxism (teeth grinding), trauma, insufficient nutrition, and even certain types of medications. Because this change happens underneath the enamel, it’s more difficult to treat — but not impossible.
Extrinsic stains are the most common stains that occur, and are usually the result of staining agents. Most patients think their enamel is flat and smooth, but the truth is that enamel has several natural ridges. When enough staining agents enter the mouth, they can become trapped in these ridges like snow in a mountain valley.
What Can I Do to Stop Stains?
The first thing you can do is know which foods cause staining. The list is long, but the major culprits are tea, coffee, wine, berries, and chocolate. You don’t have to completely give these foods up. Instead, you can adopt habits such as rinsing your mouth with water after consuming coffee. Many might feel inclined to brush with toothpaste but that would be a mistake. Using a toothbrush after drinking something acidic like wine, can actually damage your enamel. Wait up to thirty minutes before brushing.
The second thing you can do is for your body as much as your mouth. Consuming your recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, and avoiding foods with added sugar, can go a long way in making your mouth look and feel marvelous.
Schedule a Dentist Appointment
Regular professional teeth cleanings can help keep your teeth from staining. They can even reverse your current stains, but the impact is limited.
If you’re unhappy with the shade of your smile, procedures such as teeth whitening or dental veneers can transform your smile. With an in-office teeth whitening approach like Zoom!, a whitening compound is applied to your teeth which is known to dissolve staining agents with the help of a light catalyst. Pairing in-office teeth whitening with take-home trays can produce the most dramatic results, and help you keep those results over time.
Are you unhappy with discolored teeth and want to learn which approach to teeth whitening is right for you? Please call (858) 271-1010 today for an appointment with Scripps Ranch cosmetic dentist Dr. Ramin Goshtasbi at Oasis Dental Arts.