A brighter and whiter smile is something that a lot of people desire, and even struggle with achieving. Discoloration of the teeth can be caused by many factors, and there are different types of teeth stains to be aware of. Extrinsic stains are fairly common, and they’re caused by eating and drinking certain foods that are more likely to stain the teeth. Intrinsic stains are when stains form within the tooth enamel, which can result from excessive fluoride use.
There are also age-related stains that occur naturally because the core tissue of our teeth yellows over time. The good news is that no matter what type of stains you have, there are ways to make your teeth look whiter and brighter.
#1: Practice Good Oral Hygiene and Take Care of Your Health
The foundation of whiter and brighter teeth should start with good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day: once in the morning and once at night as a part of your nightly routine. For even better oral health, it’s a good idea to brush after every meal. Dentists also recommend flossing at least once a day, and mouthwash is only necessary if you have a higher risk of cavities or gum disease.
Another part of good oral health is scheduling regular dentist visits. Going to the dentist twice a year can help keep your teeth clean and healthy. A dentist will also recommend the best way for you to achieve the smile you want, plus they’ll screen for any oral health problems.
Healthy eating habits have benefits that will impact your teeth as well. Crunchy fruits and vegetables can help clean your teeth because of their rough texture, so incorporate more apples, carrots, and celery into your diet. At the same time, limit your intake of fruits and vegetables high in citric acids, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes. These can actually wear down the enamel on your teeth, but you can also incorporate an enamel-protecting toothpaste and/or mouthwash into your routine.
You should also limit your intake of junk food for both your teeth and your health overall. Smoking tobacco can also cause discoloration of the teeth, plus it’s bad for your health in general. Coffee, tea, red wine, and other stain-causing drinks should be limited, but you can also just rinse your mouth with water afterward and incorporate a whitening toothpaste/mouthwash into your routine.
#2: Consider OTC or Professional Whitening Treatments
Speaking of whitening toothpaste, using an OTC (over-the-counter) one is a great way to whiten your teeth. There are a variety of whitening toothpastes, mouthwashes, creams, gels, strips, and many other oral supplies that are specifically formulated to help whiten your teeth.
For severe discoloration that won’t respond to OTC whitening treatments, ask your dentist about professional whitening. Many dentists use a bleaching solution to help their patients achieve whiter and brighter teeth. Just keep in mind that your dental insurance may not cover teeth whitening because it’s considered a cosmetic procedure and not a health procedure.
#3: Look into Teeth Covers
Professional teeth whitening treatments can be expensive, but there are less expensive ways to achieve whiter teeth when healthy oral, eating, and lifestyle habits aren’t giving you the results you desire. Temporary cosmetic teeth covers like veneers are removable, but they also allow you to eat/drink and speak as you normally would. These are perfect for special occasions such as weddings, photo shoots, or even for everyday use.
This is also a much more affordable alternative to traditional veneers, which requires your dentist to shave down your natural teeth to permanently adhere to the veneer, and they can cost up to $1,000 per tooth. Not only will temporary teeth covers give you a brighter smile, but they can also cover other imperfections such as broken, chipped, cracked, crooked, gapped, and missing teeth.
Again, it’s important to keep in mind that no matter what method you choose to improve the look of your teeth, you should always start with and continue to practice good oral hygiene. When you choose to go with whitening treatments or temporary teeth coverings, your dentist will still advise you to brush and floss your teeth regularly. Artificially whitening your teeth only covers up imperfections— it doesn’t actually put your teeth in a healthier state. The bottom line is that whether you choose the second or third method of whitening your teeth, you should still follow the first method as well.