We’ve all seen the ads for teeth whitening services. Have you ever wondered whether or not they’ll actually work, or what causes discolored teeth? The truth is, some things are within your control, and others aren’t. Here’s the scoop.
What You CAN’T Control
Just like hair color and eye color, we all are genetically blessed from our parents with a natural color tone to our teeth. When dentists do fillings or crowns, we use a shade guide to get the perfect match to look like your natural enamel. Some medications, such as tetracycline, can cause permanent staining to teeth as well if taken at a young age.
These types of stains are call INTRINSIC because they are dark from inside the tooth. These stains are only corrected by covering them up with a restoration such as a filling, crown, or veneer while whitening agents will have no effect.
What You CAN Control
External agents like colored foods and drinks cause surface staining on your teeth. Wine, dark juices, coffee, and tea are common drinks that cause staining. Drinking through a straw will help to reduce the amount of time against the teeth and reduce staining. Foods that can stain include beets, berries, ketchup, and curry. Brushing and flossing after eating or drinking these foods will help remove the pigments from the tooth surface.
Our teeth can also start to turn a darker tint when there is a layer of plaque or tartar buildup. Regular dental cleanings can remove buildup on the teeth that twice daily toothbrushing cannot remove, giving you a brighter smile in just an hour.
The types of staining in this category are called EXTRINSIC stains because they are on the external surface of the teeth. These stains are best corrected with a cleaning and whitening.
What About Teeth Whitening Products and Services?
Whitening your teeth with a safe bleaching agent such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide can make your teeth up to a few shades lighter. It can take a few sessions to get a noticeable difference in shade and once an optimum shade is reached, only periodic maintenance is necessary to touch up new staining. Whitening agents will only correct EXTRINSIC stains like those listed above.
This post is sponsored by Light Dental Studios. They will be hosting a FREE (seriously!) dental event in Puyallup on Saturday, January 30, 2016 and invite you to come by for services. See below for details!