Keeping Your Teeth Stain-Free

If you’ve ever felt self-conscious about the color of your teeth, a cosmetic dentist can help you brighten your smile. There are many items in the natural world that look beautiful in a rainbow of colors, but your teeth only look good in one color: white!

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Teeth stains can have a variety of causes. Our adult teeth tend to darken with age, and some diseases and medical treatments can effect the enamel (the hard surface of the teeth) or dentin (the material underlying the enamel), which can cause discoloration. Genetics also can play a role.

How we treat our teeth impacts their whiteness, too. Consuming coffee, tea, colas, wines, and certain fruits and vegetables – apples and potatoes, for example – can stain your teeth. Smoking is also another common source of stains.

Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist in practice in Phoenix, says that it’s important for her team to assess which stains can be removed easily and which require additional treatment.

“Some stains adhere to the tartar on a patient’s teeth, which can be removed easily when a hygienist does a thorough cleaning,” she notes. “Other stains form on the tooth enamel. A dentist can discuss the sources of your stains and suggest the best course of treatment.”

After examining your teeth, your dentist may recommend in-office whitening treatments, at-home treatments, or a combination of the two. At-home treatments can include trays, strips or gels.

In addition to working with your dental team to determine the right whitening plan for you, there are several things you can do to keep your teeth naturally white. Using baking soda with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove stains, quitting smoking, and drinking beverages such as tea or coffee through a straw (or following them with a glass of plain water) are all actions that can reduce teeth staining.

A whitening procedure performed by a cosmetic dentist can last more than a year, if it is maintained through proper follow-up care at home. “A bright smile is an important social asset,” says Dr. Ford. “Your dentist can help you keep your teeth white and healthy-looking.”

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