With the temperatures cooling and the winter holidays right around the corner, this means an increased consumption of sugary foods and other factors that could elevate the risk of stained teeth. In today’s blog, we want to talk about what our patients in Dallas and Richardson, TX, can do to help keep their smiles bright and control unsightly discoloration through the holidays and the rest of the year. In addition, we would like to remind our patients that we have cosmetic treatment options to help remove these stains and offer a more attractive smile, often in as little as one visit!
Keeping Your Smile Bright!
- Brush and Floss Daily: Sounds pretty simple right? Daily brushing and flossing help remove food particles trapped on or between your teeth. Removing these bits of food keeps bacteria from breaking them down, a process that coats the teeth in plaque buildup. A bacterial buildup, plaque weakens outer tooth enamel and inflames gum tissue, increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease. The buildup also makes the appearance of stains more pronounced, impacting smile beauty. You should brush your teeth when you wake up and again before going to sleep. Each session should take two minutes and employ a toothbrush with soft bristles and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Avoid whitening toothpastes, as they could contain abrasive agents that inadvertently damage enamel. Flossing should happen before bed, and involve running the floss tape up and down the length of each side of every tooth.
- Avoid Cigarettes and Tobacco Products: Did you know that smoking and using tobacco products could lead to unsightly brown or yellow stains on your teeth? In addition, using tobacco products could worsen gum disease, increasing the risk of periodontitis and tooth loss. Smoking also increases the risk of oral cancer and other serious diseases. To protect your smile’s health and beauty, quit immediately!
- Enjoy a Healthier Diet: The foods we eat also impact the color of our teeth. Foods high in sugar and starch leave behind particles that bacteria can feed on. As we discussed above, this increases the severity of plaque buildup and in turn, leads to greater risks of discoloration and poor oral health. Cut back on sugary and starchy items, instead adding more fresh fruit and veggies to your diet. For a healthier snack choice, opt for sugar-free gum, nuts, dairy products, and low-fat yogurts.
- Cut Back on Beverages with Dark Pigments: Drinks that contain dark pigments could lead to discoloration forming on the surfaces of your teeth. In order to help your smile stay bright and allow any teeth whitening results to last much longer, be sure to cut back on beverages such as coffee, soda, tea, red wine, and fruit juice. If you do enjoy these beverages, be sure to drink water afterward to help cleanse your mouth.
- Have Your Teeth Cleaned: Above, we discussed how brushing and flossing daily helps control plaque buildup and keep your smile bright. But how do we remove plaque altogether? A toothbrush and floss cannot actually remove plaque that has already formed. For this, you need to undergo a cleaning. Using an ultrasonic scaler and manual tool, we will remove all plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) from the surface of your teeth. We then polish your teeth, which helps ensure a brighter appearance. You should have a cleaning every six months, and this applies to both kids and adults. If you have high risk factors for gum disease and other serious oral health issues, then we may suggest one every three to four months.
In-Office and At-Home Teeth Whitening
If you have dark staining on your teeth that you want removed, we can offer professional teeth whitening. For fast results, we have an in-office procedure that involves coating the teeth in special gel and using a light to activate the bleaching ingredients, breaking up stains in as little as one to two hours. We also have an at-home option that involves creating a custom set of plastic trays and prescribing a powerful bleaching gel. At home, the gel will be placed into the trays. The trays are then worn for about 30 to 45 minutes a day. The trays help ensure the whitening is even and complete. Optimal results may take between a week and ten days, depending on the extent of your staining. Some even enjoy smiles brightened by several shades!
Masking Intrinsic Staining
Now, what if you have permanent teeth stains, also known as intrinsic discoloration? These form below the enamel, possibly caused by tetracycline use at a young age, fluorosis, or even injury to the teeth. Since removing them may be difficult with traditional cosmetic options, we may opt to mask them. We could use dental bonding, which employs the same lifelike composite resin used for our fillings, to mask them. We could also design and place a thin restoration known as a veneer, which covers the teeth and instantly changes the color and shape. If you have any questions about cosmetic whitening or masking discoloration, then please contact our team today. We want to help you enjoy a brighter smile, one you can’t wait to show the world when you laugh and smile!
Do You Have Questions About Keeping Teeth Bright?
With our tips, you can take steps to not only control plaque buildup and keep stains at bay, but also help improve your overall oral health and reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. If you would like professional treatment to address the shade of your teeth, then talk to our team about teeth whitening, dental bonding, and cosmetic veneers. We will examine your smile and create a personalized plan to improve smile beauty and combat your discoloration, sometimes in as little as one visit! For more information on our array of cosmetic treatment options, then please schedule a consultation by calling the Viva Dental Family Dentistry office nearest you at (214) 337-7800 (Dallas) or (972) 437-6000 (Richardson). We’re happy to serve families in the area, and help them enjoy optimal oral health and beautiful smiles.