Keeping our teeth pearly white can be a challenge. Plaque staining, darkening, yellowing, and changing colours can all be concerns we have with our teeth. There are many options that are not invasive and those that are more invasive to assist with teeth whitening.
Types of colour and staining were seen in our teeth
- Plaque on our teeth can change to a darker yellow or orange when it remains on the teeth for a longer frequency of time
- Intrinsic tooth staining is the colouration of our teeth have internally. These colourations are deep within the tooth and often require whitening procedures or more extensive options to change or cover over the issue.
- Extrinsic staining is colouration on the outer surfaces of the teeth. This type of staining can be affected by foods, drinks, and tobacco usage. This staining can be more easily removed, often noninvasively, and are less permanent.
- Yellowing of teeth is a common concern. Did you know adult teeth are naturally more yellow when compared to baby teeth? Dental professionals often get asked if this is normal when the childs first, slightly darker adult erupt next to their baby ones!
- Tobacco staining from occasional and regular use can cause dark staining extrinsically and intrinsically.
- Staining around fillings can occur due to a number of reasons including the age of the filling, reoccurring decay, and some staining can be on the inside of the filling.
Ways on how to keep teeth white and teeth whitening options
Removing plaque is very important in not only preventing decay and gum disease but also in how to keep teeth whiter. Plaque is the bacteria that form on our teeth.
When areas are not correctly brushed, or flossed plaque can begin to change colour. These bacteria can turn a yellow or orange colour with time making our teeth to appear discolored and sometimes smelly! Ways we can assist in preventing discoloured teeth from plaque are by brushing twice per day for two minutes. Along with daily flossing and routine professional cleanings.
The foods and drinks we consume can also result in some extrinsic staining on the outside of the teeth. These include teas, coffee, cola, soy sauce, red wine, and curry. Reducing our intake can help reduce the amount of stain.
Other useful tips include
- Drinking through a straw so it doesn’t spend as much time on our front teeth.
- Add milk to tea and coffee
- rinsing with water straight after consuming these types of food or drinks.
Professional bleaching or teeth whitening is a great option for assisting with brightening your teeth and reducing the intrinsic staining. Custom or disposable whitening treatment trays and in-chair bleaching prescribed by your dental professional are important in ensuring you are able to complete teeth whitening safely. Teeth whitening products available from dental professionals are regulated and likely to be of a higher quality and have more effective results than those often seen online or through social media. Take-home whitening treatments can be very convenient as you can do it of your own home, while commuting, or even at work. By following instructions given by your dental professional you may start to see results in the first few days. It is important to remember that teeth whitening, and bleaching teeth will not change the colour of fillings, crowns, or veneers that you may currently have. These may be able to be replaced once the desired colour has been reached.
Whitening toothpaste is available as an at-home whitening treatment. The concentrations are at a low enough level that means that they don’t need to be prescribed by a dental professional. Despite this, it is always important to read the label as there are still risks with this type of whitening treatment. They are generally recommended to be used for a short period of time and sensitivity may be experienced. Due to the lower concentration, the same effect may not be seen as a professional bleaching kit.
Veneers and fillings may be good options to assist with covering or masking intrinsic staining that can’t be removed with whitening. These options can be more invasive and will permanently affect teeth, however, can be an excellent option when other whitening treatments do not work or will not work. Fillings or veneers will also allow you to choose what colour you want your teeth to be and can allow you in some cases to adjust the shaping of your teeth, so it is more personalised.
Speaking to your dental professional about the best options on how to keep teeth white and the different whitening treatments available for you. Getting routine checkups will allow for it to be continually maintained and monitored. Remember to talk to your dental professional before starting teeth whitening so you can complete it safely.