We’ve all been there. You’re at a party with your friends and in walks this woman who flashes this amazing smile. You can’t help but smile back. If you have cosmetic issues with your teeth, you may worry your smile has the opposite effect on others.
According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, almost all adults (99.7%) believe that a smile is a crucial asset, while about 74% of adults feel that having an unattractive smile is a barrier to career success.
If you’ve looked into ways to restore or upgrade your smile, you’ve likely come across teeth whitening, which is among the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures. But you may also have wondered why your teeth are dull or stained to begin with, and whether you could’ve done anything to prevent it from happening in the first place.
In this blog, the experienced team at Fresh Dental Care gives you the lowdown on the 5 factors that may be staining your teeth.
Enamel, dentin and teeth brightness
A good place to start this conversation is to describe the anatomy of a tooth, and more specifically the role dental enamel plays when it comes to bright teeth. You probably know that enamel is the hard, clear outer shell of your teeth. Enamel is your teeth’s first line of defense and protects the inside layers, and when it’s gone it’s gone.
Dentin is the middle layer of your teeth and the largest part. The natural color of dentin can range from gray to black, but is typically a yellowish hue. If enamel is thinned out or broken through by decay or other issues, your teeth take on the yellow or dull color of dentin.
There are a variety of factors that can stain or make your teeth dull and unattractive. Many of them are lifestyle behaviors that we can control while others are not.
1. Certain beverages and foods
One major factor that can wreak havoc to the brightness of our teeth are certain drinks and food. Chief among them are things like red wine, coffee and tea, and colas as well as tomato-based sauces and dark-pigmented fruits and vegetables. For many of these items it’s the acid content that causes harm when it breaches the enamel.
2. Tobacco products
Another major stain producer is tobacco. Regardless of whether you are a smoker or prefer to chew tobacco products, tobacco can dull your teeth as well as cause stubborn stains.
3. Inadequate dental hygiene
Poor at-home oral care as well as not visiting your dental provider for regular professional cleanings can also be a major contributing factor when it comes to the appearance of your teeth. Think of your daily brushing and flossing regimen as maintenance and your professional cleanings as doing the heavy lifting when it comes to removing stains and plaque that you can’t do at home. By itself, a professional cleaning can brighten your smile.
4. Certain medications
Another factor that may cause teeth staining are certain over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications. You may know about the damaging effects that antibiotics like tetracycline can have on a child’s teeth. Similarly some blood pressure medications and antipsychotic drugs may cause teeth discoloration. Even over-the-counter medications like antihistamines can stain teeth.
5. Natural aging
Aging causes transformations throughout your body, and your teeth are no exception. Over the natural course of your lifetime, two major things happen with your teeth that affect their color – enamel tends to thin out due to natural wear and tear and the yellowish dentin layer grows.
What to expect if you choose at-home professional whitening
The good news is despite the factors that can stain and discolor your teeth, you don’t have to live with a dull, unattractive smile. Here at Fresh Dental Care, we help our patients regain their beautiful, bright smiles using Philips Zoom at-home teeth whitening kits. This at-home professional whitening system gives our patients the best of both worlds – the cleaning power of the industry’s top whitening brand with the convenience of doing it at home. You’ll get everything you need in two short visits.
During the first visit we’ll learn more about your whitening goals and take an impression of your teeth. We send the impressions to a dental laboratory, which creates your custom at-home trays. Once the trays come back from the lab, you’ll come in for your final visit where we’ll check the trays out to make sure they fit comfortably. We’ll also walk you through how to apply the special whitening solution to your trays and how long you should wear the trays to achieve your optimal whitening goal.
If you’re concerned about stained teeth and are ready to brighten your smile, come see the team at Fresh Dental Care for a whitening consultation. Book your appointment by calling one of our convenient Houston offices in Bellaire, Northside and Edgebrook.