Your smile is one of the first things people notice when meeting you for the first time. A bright smile can give you the appearance of friendliness and confidence. While teeth whitening with professional products is perfectly safe, we understand that some people prefer to take a more natural route. This article contains five important ways you can naturally maintain a bright smiles.
Avoid Dark Foods and Drinks
Most people experience darkening of the teeth over time due to the accumulation of stains on the outermost layer of the teeth. We call this extrinsic staining. Extrinsic staining is directly related to the color of the foods you eat and the beverages you drink.
People who drink large amounts of coffee, tea, dark sodas, and red wine will have noticeably darker teeth than those who avoid these dark-colored liquids. Foods are a less likely culprit, but they may contribute a bit.
If you reduce the amount of dark-colored foods and beverages you consume, you will prevent the buildup of extrinsic stains.
Avoid Staining Habits
In addition to foods and drinks, there are other substances that lead to extrinsic staining, namely smoking of any kind and the use of smokeless tobacco. As marijuana use becomes normalized, we are noticing that it leads to a characteristic type of staining on the teeth. All kinds of tobacco, including cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco and dip, cause staining on the teeth. The dark-pigmented compounds present in the smoke can easily adhere to the teeth because smoking also dries out the inside of the mouth.
If you want to maintain a naturally bright smile, you must cut out tobacco use and smoking of any substance.
Use a Whitening Toothpaste
Whitening toothpastes are simply polishing compounds that have a slight abrasive quality. The abrasiveness of whitening toothpaste is safe for most people, but you should check with your dentist if you have sensitive teeth or gum recession.
Whitening toothpaste is a great way to counteract extrinsic stains because it is able to polish away the most superficial of them. With a mild sandpaper-like effect, it removes the rough gritty texture that grabs onto more and more stain over time.
It is VERY important to understand that whitening toothpaste can be damaging to weakened tooth structure. You should NOT use it within 30 minutes of eating or drinking something acidic. If you do, it will remove enamel, which is not only bad for your teeth; it also makes them appear more yellow!
Use an Electric Toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes are an additional tool that help you maintain a bright smile. The rapid motion of the bristles creates a more powerful polishing effect than a manual toothbrush can achieve. This gives them a similar effect to whitening toothpaste in smoothing and polishing away stains on the outermost layer of enamel.
You can use whitening toothpaste in combination with an electric toothbrush for the best polishing effect. Again, make sure to check with your dentist first if you have any areas of sensitivity or receding gums.
Avoid Acidic Foods and Drinks
Many people have a relatively acidic diet without realizing that the acidic pH of their foods and drinks is slowly eroding away their enamel. Acid erosion is a common problem among people who drink large amounts of soda, lemon juice, or sports drinks. It also occurs frequently in people who suffer from severe acid reflux or GERD. Erosion is a slow process that causes a thinning of the outer layer of enamel over time. Enamel is the only relatively white part of a natural tooth. The underlying structure is a darker yellow in color, so as enamel gets thinner, it becomes more transparent, and more yellow shows through.
Don’t Miss a Professional Teeth Cleaning
One of the most important things you can do to maintain a bright smile that is also healthy is to see your dental hygienist for consistent professional teeth cleanings. When your hygienists cleans your teeth, he or she not only removes all of the disease-causing bacteria front he teeth. The final step in the cleaning process is a polishing that leaves the teeth as smooth and glossy as possible. This shining step not only removes existing external stains; it also makes the surface texture of the teeth more resistant to picking up future stains.
When you undergo this polishing on a regular basis, you help to keep a shiny, stain-free surface to your enamel.
More Questions about Maintaining a Bright Smile?
Call Rockland Dental Specialists today to schedule a consultation. We can help you understand your specific risk factors and how you can maintain a naturally white smile.