When you look in the mirror and smile, don’t be alarmed if a set of stained, discolored teeth smiles back at you. Unfortunately, many of us will experience some degree of tooth discoloration over the years.
The good news is that discolored teeth are common and typically easy to correct. Your dentist can help you find the right whitening treatment to brighten your teeth by several shades. In the meantime, follow these simple steps for preventing and reducing unwanted tooth stains.
What is causing your tooth stains?
Most types of stains are extrinsic, meaning they affect only the outer tooth enamel. Extrinsic stains can be removed fairly easily. Other types of discoloration may be intrinsic, which affects the inner structure of the tooth, also known as the dentin. Teeth with intrinsic discoloring are not as easily corrected.
There are many factors that can contribute to tooth stains, including:
- Foods and drinks: Coffee, tea, soda, red wine, soy sauce, tomato sauce and berries are common offenders of tooth stains.
- Poor dental hygiene: Stain-causing substances left on teeth due to inadequate brushing and flossing can eventually lead to tooth discoloration.
- Natural aging process: Teeth may naturally yellow or change colors with age as enamel thins and wears.
- Tobacco use: Smoking and chewing tobacco can make teeth appear yellowed and dingy over time.
- Disease and medications: Certain diseases and medications can lead to discoloration of your teeth.
- Trauma: Discoloration of a tooth may appear following an injury.
Can I prevent my teeth from staining?
Many surface stains on the teeth can be easily prevented with simple lifestyle changes. Brush and floss after every meal to reduce the build-up of stain-producing foods on the teeth. If you’re a coffee lover, wine enthusiast or smoker, consider cutting back or stopping altogether to reduce stains. Most importantly, visit your dentist regularly for routine cleanings to remove tough stains from the surface of teeth.
What treatments are available to whiten my teeth?
When changes to your lifestyle and at-home remedies aren’t enough, your dentist can provide advanced whitening treatments for dramatic, long-lasting whitening results. One option, at-home whitening trays, allows patients to conveniently whiten their teeth from the comfort of their home. After being custom fitted for trays by the dentist, patients will wear the trays with a bleaching gel each day as prescribed. Over the course of several days, patients will notice whiter teeth and a brighter smile as stains disappear.
If you desire nearly instant results, you may benefit from professional, in-office teeth whitening. This safe and highly effective treatment involves applying a special whitening agent to the teeth. The whitening solution is activated by a light to accelerate the whitening process. In-office whitening is ideal for busy patients looking for immediate results and dramatically whiter teeth in as little as one visit to our office.
Professional cleanings help keep teeth white!
At Schererville Family Dentistry, we can help you maintain white, stain-free teeth through professional cleanings. Combined with at-home care, a regularly scheduled cleaning is one of the best ways to remove stain-causing substances from your teeth.
Cleanings are quick and comfortable at one of our two office locations — not to mention a critical part of maintaining good dental health for a lifetime. Call (219) 322-3232 today!