Do you ever wonder why your teeth are not as sparkly white as they used to be? Even with good brushing habits, you may find that over time your teeth look more yellow than you would like. Unfortunately, teeth staining affects most people at some point during their lifetimes. As a specialist in cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Ashwini Bhave explains why staining occurs, as well as what you can do to prevent staining and brighten your smile once again.
How Stains Form
Two main types of stains can discolor your teeth: extrinsic stains and intrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains affect the outside of your teeth. The pigmentation in many of the foods and beverages you consume is absorbed by the enamel (the hard, outer layer on your teeth), which results in staining.
Intrinsic stains affect dentin, the layer just beneath the enamel. A brown, gray, or otherwise dark color may emerge on your dentin if your teeth are decaying, you have consumed too much fluoride, you take certain medications like antibiotics, or your teeth have experienced nerve damage.
How to Avoid Stains
Your best bet for avoiding extrinsic stains is to reduce your consumption of foods and beverages that are known to stain your enamel. These include tomato sauce, fruit juices, wine, coffee, and cola. You may avoid some visible discoloration by using a straw to consume drinks so that the pigmentation of these drinks does not touch the front of your teeth. Drinking water immediately after consuming a staining food can also help to wash away some of the pigmentation. The best action of all is to brush your teeth and visit the dentist, since cleanings can help to remove extrinsic stains.
Intrinsic stains are harder to avoid given the underlying causes, though proper oral hygiene can help you to avoid discoloration from tooth decay. Because years of compounded extrinsic and intrinsic stains can significantly yellow your teeth, you are more likely to become dissatisfied with the color of your teeth as you get older.
How to Treat Existing Stains
The most effective solution to staining that has already discolored your teeth is in-office teeth whitening. Here, Dr. Bhave can safely administer a high-strength bleaching treatment, which is capable of making your teeth several shades whiter than whitening products available in stores. In fact, if you have intrinsic stains, whitening strips and similar treatments are ineffective and can only be improved with in-office whitening.
If you are interested in seeing the powerful benefits of teeth whitening for yourself, please request an appointment with Dr. Bhave at Bay Area Dental Specialists online.