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If you are looking to brighten your smile, there are great products available through your dentist that provide fast, noticeable whitening results. But there are also some easy things you can do at home. Instead of just talking about whitening, we’ll discuss staining: how to prevent it, how to counteract it, and how to remove it.
Our teeth gradually become more yellow over time. A small part of that yellowing process is a natural effect of aging, but the majority of it results from two causes:
The most common cause of yellowing teeth is the buildup of external stains. Over time, as we eat and drink dark-colored foods and beverages, the teeth accumulate those dark pigments. This also occurs with tobacco use, especially smoking. External stains that are not removed on a consistent basis become deeply embedded in the hard tooth structure, which makes them more difficult to remove.
In order to prevent externals stains from accumulating on the teeth, you must avoid these dark-colored substances. This means limiting your intake of coffee, tea, dark sodas, red wine, and tobacco. If you never eat, drink, smoke or chew anything dark, your teeth will stay relatively white in color.
Enamel is the only structure in a tooth that is naturally white in color. Even in its most natural state, it is just an off-white color. The underlying core structure of the tooth is dentin, which is softer and yellower than enamel. As enamel thins, more of the dentin shows through, causing the teeth to appear yellow.
There are several causes of thinning enamel, all of which can be prevented. You simply have to take preventive measures against the cause itself.
You can counteract the process of teeth staining with routine maintenance of your smile. This involves regularly polishing and protecting your enamel. To do this, it takes both professional dental care and home care.
In order to maintain healthy, strong, smooth enamel, you must see a dental hygienist for professional teeth cleanings on a consistent basis. Most people need these cleanings twice a year, but some require them more frequently. The cleaning itself removes acid-producing bacteria and superficial stains. It also includes a final polishing, which leaves the enamel smoother and more resistant to new stains.
If you tend to have weak enamel, your professional dental care should include an application of fluoride, which hardens and strengthens enamel, fighting erosion, staining, and cavities.
At home, you should make sure you are practicing good oral hygiene. To improve your brushing’s ability to counteract stains, use an electric toothbrush and a whitening toothpaste (with your dentist’s approval). These two, used together, produce whiter teeth.
You should also work to counteract staining from any dark substances by rinsing with water afterward. If you drink multiple cups of coffee in the morning, drink a glass of water after each cup to flush away loose stains and neutralize your mouth.
To remove deep stains that will not polish away, you have to turn to teeth whitening. For the fastest and most noticeable results, you should see your dentist for professional products and procedures.
If you’d like to whiten them at home, there are many over-the-counter products that do work. Here are two tips for achieving a whitening result with OTC products:
[highlight]It’s simple to prevent stains, but most people don’t consider it worth the trouble of avoiding their favorite substances. You can also counteract the staining and remove it with whitening if the idea of skipping your coffee sounds absurd.[/highlight]