Teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dental treatments around. It’s capable of completely transforming your smile and bolstering your confidence. For some, it can be a life-changing procedure that gives them a different perspective on life. According to Mintel, a global market research company, around 45 million Americans (14 percent of the population) have undergone some form of professional teeth whitening. That’s an absolutely staggering amount that goes to show the power of a brighter and whiter smile.
But there are often misconceptions about teeth whitening and how it actually works. To help you understand the process a bit better, we’re going to cover some of the most common questions that people ask us when it comes to teeth whitening procedures.
What causes teeth to become yellow or stained?
There are six main causes of yellow and stained teeth.
- Smoking: Smoking is one of the most common causes of yellow teeth. The stains from smoking can be hard to get rid of, but they mostly disappear once you stop smoking.
- Food: Certain types of food in your diet may cause discoloration in your teeth. These commonly include coffee, soda, and wine. This is because these substances can affect the enamel of your teeth, causing deep discoloration.
- Fluoride: While fluoride can prevent tooth decay, it can also cause discoloration in both adults and children when exposed to an excess amount. This usually occurs when you consume a lot of groundwater that is rich in fluoride.
- Illness: Certain medical conditions can also cause your teeth to discolor. Patients going through chemotherapy may experience yellow teeth. Medication for high blood pressure can also cause discoloration.
- Hygiene: Poor oral hygiene also negatively affects your teeth. Make sure you brush and floss frequently to remove any buildup of bacteria that could cause damage to your teeth.
- Aging: Lastly, we can’t underestimate the effects of aging on our teeth. This occurs because the enamel on our teeth can wear away as we age, causing our teeth to appear more gray or yellowish.
I take good care of my teeth but they’re not white. What’s going on?
A lot of people often mistake bright white teeth for good dental hygiene. The reality is that teeth are not inherently white and white teeth does not mean they are in better condition. In fact, most teeth are an off-white color if you take care of them correctly. Whitening is, after all, a cosmetic procedure that helps to improve the appearance of your teeth. It doesn’t do anything for your oral hygiene. It’s recommended that you take good care of your teeth and mouth before expressing interest in teeth whitening as it can prolong the effect and also ensure that you’re practicing good oral hygiene.
In other words, don’t be too discouraged if your teeth aren’t a brilliant white. Obtaining bright white teeth isn’t something you can do from just good oral hygiene alone. If you want a brilliantly white smile, whitening treatments are usually the only reliable way to do so.
How can I prevent my teeth from discoloring?
The most reliable way to overcome tooth discoloration is to practice good oral hygiene and avoid foods that can stain your teeth. If you do consume a beverage like tea or coffee, you can reduce the amount of staining by rinsing your mouth or drinking a glass of water. If you want to drink soda or other acidic beverages, try drinking them with a straw to avoid contact with your teeth as much as possible.
Make sure you don’t brush your teeth straight away after drinking soda or coffee because it can weaken the tooth enamel due to the acidic content of the beverages. This has the potential to cause even more staining if you’re not careful.
Professional teeth whitening vs over-the-counter
Professional teeth whitening is usually the most effective way to whiten your teeth with lasting results. However, over-the-counter treatments do exist and are rather popular.
Unfortunately, over-the-counter products tend to be either ineffective or very limited in scope. For example, some whitening products only affect the front teeth, meaning the back teeth aren’t affected which creates an imbalance smile. Some treatments such as whitening toothpaste are not very effective and work as effectively as regular toothpaste.
In comparison, professional teeth whitening is a lot more effective. While it’s also more expensive than over-the-counter products, it produces long-lasting effects that whiten all of your teeth and not just a select few. It’s much safer due to the professional supervision of your dentist and you’ll get a complete examination that also covers the overall health of your teeth.
Foods to avoid after teeth whitening
If you’ve recently had professional teeth whitening then your teeth will be susceptible to staining for the next 24 to 72 hours. Your dentist will likely offer you some advice on what foods and beverages to avoid during this period, but here’s a quick refresher on what to avoid at all costs.
- Sugary and fizzy drinks
- Fruit juice
- Dark condiments such as soy sauce
- Dark fruits such as blackberries
- Any sweets and chocolate
And here are foods that you can have:
- White fish
- Chicken and turkey
- Rice and pasta (avoid dark or colored sauces)
- White cheese
- Egg white (avoid the yolk)
- Potatoes without the skin
- White bread (remove the crust to be safe)
- Plain yogurt
- Porridge (no sugar)
Dr. Rinaldi’s take-home teeth whitening treatment
If you’re searching for a convenient at-home teeth whitening treatment with supervision from a professional cosmetic dentist, Dr. Rinaldi’s take-home teeth whitening treatment is a great option.
Our take-home whitening kits are a convenient and easy way for you to whiten your teeth at home. You’ll enjoy effective results at home without interrupting your daily schedule, and you’ll be given custom-made whitening trays that only need to be worn for a little bit each day. You’ll notice your teeth getting whiter within the first few days and your smile will improve as you use the kit.
For more information about Dr. Rinaldi’s take-home teeth whitening treatment, don’t hesitate to contact us today for more information.