“I’m Dreaming of a White (Smile for) Christmas”
…just like the teeth you used to know….
It’s the holiday season… and that means there’s probably more attention on your smile than normal. Between “season’s greetings” photos and family visits, those pearly whites are getting a lot of face time… even if they aren’t so pearly white anymore.
The common wisdom is that it is harder to keep teeth white as we age. While there are some age-related factors that affect teeth color, they are hardly inevitable – or irreversible! At Burns Dentistry, we believe that everyone in Sun City and Sun City West can have and maintain a whiter smile, provided they have the proper knowledge of what causes discolored teeth and how to treat them. If you have any questions after reading this, give us a call – we’ll be happy to help you ring in the new year with a new smile!
Causes of Discolored Teeth
Dark Food and Drinks:
Probably the most common cause of teeth discoloration is enjoying dark beverages or foods that stain the teeth. Common culprits include teas, coffees, and sodas, as well as beets, juices, and dark fruits like blueberries, blackberries and pomegranates. Red wine can even stain teeth purple!
As we age, our enamel thins, exposing the dentin beneath. Dentin has a similar hardness and feel of bone, and plays a critical role in maintaining the strength of our teeth. However, it also has the color of bone, and as it becomes more visible in our mouths, our teeth tend to look more yellow. At Burns Dental, we have treatment options to hide this exposure and change the color of the teeth to a whiter look.
More On Contributing Factors
It’s no secret that lighting up can dim your smile. In fact, all tobacco use stains the teeth, whether it be from smoking or dipping. Over time, smokers will notice yellow stains on the teeth, particularly around where they usually hold their cigars or cigarettes when they inhale. These stains tend to deepen over time, and can remain even after you quit smoking unless properly treated.
Poor Dental Hygiene:
Tartar buildup and tooth decay are definitely capable of causing teeth discoloration, along with other negative effects. Yellow, brown, and even white and black discolorations of the teeth are often signs of tooth decay or cavities from lack of proper brushing, flossing and mouthwash use.
Certain medications can cause discoloration of the teeth. This is common among children who have to take antibiotics, or among cancer patients who receive head and neck radiation and chemotherapy. There are also certain infections that can lead to changes in tooth color.
Teeth Whitening Treatment Options
It sounds obvious, but the best way to keep your teeth white is through prevention. If you can’t put down your coffee, berries or other teeth-staining staples, be sure to rinse your mouth well with water when you are through consuming your food or beverage. It’s not a perfect solution, but reducing the concentration of the particles that stain teeth in the mouth will help fend off discoloration.
Over the Counter Whitening:
If you are already noticing discolorations, over the counter whitening products can have some effect. Be sure to ask your Sun City dentist at Burns Dentistry about your desire to whiten your teeth during your next cleaning. They can help direct you to teeth whitening solutions that work without harming your teeth.
Brush. Floss. Rinse with mouthwash. Repeat. Proper dental hygiene reduces the appearance of tartar and plaque, gets rid of particles that stain teeth, and preserves the enamel on your teeth. I know. We say it all the time. But that’s because it really works.
At Burns Dentistry, we proudly offer patients in Sun City and Sun City West access to Opalescence whitening solutions – including Opalescence toothpaste and the new Opalescence GO home whitening kits. These pre-filled whitening trays allow you to have prescription-strength whitening in the comfort of your own home. This gluten-free, kosher, vegan treatment option can whiten your teeth in just days!
If you have significant stains or discoloration on a particular tooth (from damage, illness, decay or smoking) you might be a candidate for bonding or veneers. These options allow the dentists at Burns Dentistry to apply permanent covers to the affected teeth that make them appear whiter, but preserve your ability to eat normally.
At Burns Dentistry, we can help your smile have a white(r) Christmas. Give us a call today to schedule an exam so we can help make your smile merry and bright.