There’s nothing more appealing than a bright, sparkling white smile, right? But keeping your teeth shiny and white is easier said than done and, for many people, it can be a constant struggle to keep stains and discolouration at bay.
But what causes those stains that are coming between you and your dream smile? Let’s take a look at some of the things that can cause discolouration and how teeth whitening can help…
Bad dental hygiene
We all know that we should clean our teeth twice a day, right? But did you know that failing to keep up a good oral hygiene routine can lead to your teeth becoming stained and discoloured? That’s because whenever you forget to clean your teeth or floss, it can lead to a build-up of plaque. And, because plaque is usually yellow in colour, if it builds up and isn’t removed for a couple of days, it can harden and develop into a substance called tartar or calculus.
Once you have tartar on your teeth, they will easily pick up stains from the foods and drinks in your diet, causing it to turn dark yellow, brown, or grey in colour. Teeth whitening treatment can oxidise these stains, leaving them less obvious. However this does not treat the underlying cause. A trip to the dental hygienist can remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth, leaving them sparkling and clean. Make sure you maintain this by cleaning thoroughly and flossing at least twice each day!
Diet & Teeth Whitening
What you eat cannot only affect your figure, your health, and your general mood, but it can also affect the colour of your teeth. Certain foods, especially strongly coloured ones such as curry, bolognaise, soy sauce, and red wine, coffee, and tea, can stain your teeth and cause them to look less than perfect! Its important to avoid these during teeth whitening to ensure the success of your treatment.
To keep your smile bright after teeth whitening, think twice before tucking into that curry and treating yourself to an extra glass of red wine. Of course, we’re all for balance, and you should never cut anything out of your diet completely – but be aware of how what you’re eating can affect your smile. And, when you do eat or drink something that might discolour your teeth, make sure you clean them thoroughly as soon as possible!
There can be little doubt that your lifestyle can play a huge role in the whiteness of your smile. And you wont be surprised to hear that bad habits such as smoking can have a huge impact on your teeth!
Cigarettes contain nicotine and tar, and these are the biggest culprits when it comes to staining your pearly whites. On its own, nicotine is a colourless substance. However, if you put oxygen into the equation, the substance turns yellow. When tobacco is inhaled, the now yellow nicotine and tar settle in the mouth and work their way into any microscopic openings in the enamel on your teeth. This can result in a yellow or brown discolouration appearing on the surface of the teeth.
So, if you want to ensure that your teeth remain your best asset, it’s definitely worth considering ditching the cigarettes!
Acids are found in a large proportion of our daily diet – in fact, you might be surprised at just how acidic foods such as fruits, seeds, sweeteners, and condiments. Of course, we aren’t suggesting that you stop eating a good, balanced diet in the name of keeping your teeth shiny and white, but you should be aware of how certain foods can impact on your smile.
Acidic foods can stain your teeth by softening the outer layer – the enamel. Once the enamel has been softened, it can be easily removed altogether by simply brushing your teeth or chewing your food. And this, in turn, exposes the dentine underneath the enamel. Because dentine is darker in colour than the white enamel, exposing it can cause your teeth to have a more yellowed appearance.
Of course, it’s not just acidic foods and drinks that can cause problems – some medical conditions can also increase the levels of acidity in our mouths, leading to the erosion of the enamel.
Despite our best efforts, it’s a fact of life that we’re all going to get older (we know, we know, it’s not fair!). And, just as the rest of your body ages, your teeth will naturally discolour over time, no matter how healthy your diet is or how thorough your dental hygiene regime is.
This age-related discolouration occurs because, over time, the whiter enamel layer on your teeth is wears away naturally over time and, as it becomes thinner and more transparent, the yellow dentine layer underneath is exposed.
Of course, paying particular attention to your smile from a young age will delay and minimise the impact of age-related staining.
Rare causes of discolouration….
Whilst your hygiene, diet, lifestyle, age, and the effects of acid erosion are the most common causes of the discolouration of your teeth, there are a number of other, less common causes. Some people, for example, are born with stained teeth or weakened enamel, whilst others might have staining caused by an illness. Some people even have stained teeth because of the medications they were given during childhood, during a crucial time for tooth development.
However, the good news is that, whatever the cause of your stained teeth, there is a solution out there to get your smile bright and white once again! So, to find out how to get rid of those irritating stains, we’d recommend having a consultation with a dentist who can help identify which solution is best for you and your smile!