Whiter is always prettier, at least when it comes to teeth. Everybody wants a beautiful smile, and what says beautiful more than a set of shiny, pearly whites. In fact, the most requested dental cosmetic treatment nowadays is teeth whitening. The technology has come a long way since its inception, and more and more options that are safer and more effective emerge all the time. However, there is a saying in the medical field that most doctors (including dentists) try to work by, and that is: “prevention is better than cure.” It is always better to try to avoid the cause of yellowish and stained teeth rather than seek a way to treat them later. And so, we try to demonstrate some useful tips to avoid staining teeth.
What Causes Teeth Staining?
There are two main reasons for teeth staining:
Meaning that the causative factor is external, not built into the tooth structure. In simpler terms, it is the foods and drinks that we consume that cause the staining. While all foods have some pigments and are capable of staining the teeth in the long run, some types of foods stick out among the mix having the highest amounts of stains and pigments, and are capable of turning even the whitest teeth yellowish. These include:
- Coffee and tea.
- Smoking (technically not a food or drink, but one of the leading causes of teeth staining).
- Alcohol (especially wines, and even more specifically red wine)
- Thick foods such as potatoes. While they have very few stains, they stick to the surface of the teeth and are considered playgrounds for bacteria that can cause the stains.
Another often overlooked cause of staining is overusing mouthwashes. While they can help with gum disease and inflammation, they contain an awful lot of pigments. They can stain not only the teeth but the tongue and cheeks as well. So one of our first tips to avoid staining teeth is not abusing the mouthwash and only using it in moderation and under supervision from your dentist.
One more fact to consider is that teeth staining may be more than that. The brownish stains that you see on the teeth’ surface may indicate a cavity underneath them. So if you notice the stain getting bigger or start to feel any other symptoms, make sure to visit your dentist ASAP.
The cause of teeth staining may have nothing to do with your diet. In some cases, the stains come within the tooth and are merged with their crystalline structure. The tricky thing about these stains is that they often cannot be removed by traditional methods and would need advanced dental care to remove them. Here are some causes of internal teeth staining:
- Early childhood disease.
- The usage of the wrong kind of antibiotics while you were young.
- Misuse of toothpaste (this is why we strongly encourage you to supervise your children, and prevent them from eating and swallowing the toothpaste). This often causes white stains as opposed to brownish ones.
- Genetically weak and discolored teeth.
Why Are My Teeth Staining So Easily?
Some teeth are predisposed to staining. The outer surface of the teeth may have an anomaly that invites stains as well as the bacteria causing stains and other diseases. If you have extensive fillings, they are likely to stain over time. If you have been lethargic in your regular cleanup visits, and plaque and tartar started to accumulate on the teeth surface, then stains are likely to be there as well. Spaces between the teeth – whether you were born with them or they were created later on due to teeth loss – also provide a medium for food accumulation and bacterial staining. One of the most important tips to avoid staining teeth is making sure your teeth’ surface is preventive rather than inviting of teeth staining. You can only do that if you visit your dentist regularly.
How Can I Remove Stains From My Teeth?
The internet seems to offer solutions for everything these days, including how to get rid of teeth staining. You would find solutions such as fruit peels and some essential oils, but we implore you not to try any of these without consulting with your dentist first. Some of these may work, but you will never know if they are also damaging without proper consultation. At-home whitening solutions such as toothpaste and strips should also be used under careful observation. Your dentist can help you find the right product for your case.
Tips To Avoid Staining Teeth
Oral hygiene is key:
Of course, our first piece of advice is to take better care of your oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least 3 times a week are essential to keep your teeth both white and cavity-free. Adding mouthwash can also be beneficial, but use it carefully as it can be the reason behind the staining.
Modify your diet:
We know this is a tall task, but it could be the lifeline your teeth need. Coffee is like the kryptonite of white teeth, and limiting your coffee intake – or finding another beverage entirely, although difficult – can do wonders to the color of your teeth.
Try to quit smoking:
Smoking is probably the single most damaging habit to your health, both general and oral. People who smoke are more predisposed to every kind of disease you can think of. Smokers are more likely to get teeth decay, periodontal disease, gum inflammation, and even mouth cancer inside the mouth. Of course, tobacco smoke is one of the leading factors of teeth staining. So we advise you to seek help and try to limit such a destructive habit.
Keep water by your side always:
Water can wash away all the food remnants that cause staining from the surface of the teeth. You may not always have a brush in hand, but you can always have access to water. Drinking a lot of water is also great for your health in general, so one stone and many birds kind of situation.
These are all just some tips to avoid staining teeth, but nothing is more important than keeping up with your dental visits. If you like to learn more or book an appointment for a consultation, contact Dr. Scott Schwartz and his amazing team to know how we can help you get that awesome set of pearly whites. You can find us at 1 Baltic Place, Croton On Hudson, NY 10520, or call us on (914) 271-6224.