There is no better feeling than getting complimented on your teeth and showing off your pearly whites. But there are a few steps to make sure your pearly whites stay white.
First, it is important to understand why teeth are various shades and what impacts them. The outer layer of the tooth is enamel. Enamel is the whitest layer while the next layer, dentin, is a darker brown colour.
As the enamel begins to wear down with age and prolonged exposure to acidic foods and beverages, it thins, and the dentin begins to show through. This transition is why teeth begin to appear yellow. Regardless of what a toothpaste commercial may promise, when enamel begins to decay, it can never be recovered. There is no fixing enamel; there is only preventing further loss of enamel. This is why protecting it is so important.
There are a few main factors that impact the whiteness of teeth. The biggest factors are thinning and stained enamel. Our team at Hamptons Dental has these 3 suggestions for easy changes to make your smile whiter:
1. Brush regularly with whitening and enamel-protecting toothpaste
The goal is to look for a toothpaste that both protects enamel and whitens. Ideally, you can find both, but if the choice must be made, choosing the toothpaste with the enamel protection is best. You may not see immediate results, but hopefully it will help keep your tooth enamel stronger for longer.
The whitening toothpaste will dye your enamel a brighter shade of white but will not do anything to protect the precious enamel. In fact, many whitening methods damage enamel, so consult us at Hamptons Dental for the best whitening method for your teeth.
Stay away from trending methods that are not backed by dentists such as using charcoal products. Abrasive products like this simply scrape enamel off teeth to make them temporarily whiter.
2. Brush your teeth after drinking or eating certain foods
Certain foods and drinks should be avoided or consumed less frequently than others. Acidic foods such as citrus or dark berries can erode enamel and darken teeth. The dark berries work as both acidic and stain agents as they are so dark in colour.
There are a few common beverages to avoid as well. Red wines, coffee, soda, and tea are all staining agents. Teeth can be dyed a lighter colour with whitening methods, but the best strategy is to prevent them from being stained in the first place.
After eating or drinking foods that erode enamel or stain, be sure to brush your teeth. At the very least, drink a glass of water or milk after consuming these if a toothbrush is not available. This way, the dark stain will not be able to seep into the enamel as deeply, and will help prevent your teeth from going yellow.
3. Stay hydrated
The saliva in your mouth creates an acid balance in your mouth. If the saliva is limited, it cannot do its job to wash away the acid that breaks down enamel. This is caused by dry mouth. Dry mouth results from dehydration, diet, stress, medication, etc. It can be combatted if you drink more water and less sugary drinks.
Allowing the acid neutralisation process to occur naturally will prevent the breakdown of enamel from everyday foods and guard against extra acidic foods and beverages. If more water is consumed throughout the day, there is a better chance of old food being washed from the surface of teeth. There is also less of a chance for dry mouth to develop.
The Bottom Line
The best thing to do for whitening teeth is to protect enamel and prevent stains from impacting teeth. Keep in mind many home remedies for whitening teeth can be more destructive to your teeth than helpful. Ask your dentist for additional advice for what the safest and most effective whitening methods can be for you.