There are plenty of reasons to want to preserve your bright, beautiful smile. Whether you’ve invested the money and effort in having your teeth professionally whitened, or you’re lucky enough to naturally have beautiful teeth, you probably want to keep them looking great.
At Santa Monica Bay Dental in Santa Monica, California, our dentists often see patients who are unhappy with the look of their teeth and regret not taking more steps to keep them white. Some things that cause discoloration are unavoidable, but you have many opportunities to keep your teeth pearly and beautiful.
Unavoidable risk factors
As you age, the layer of enamel on the outside of your teeth becomes thinner. Enamel is a hard coating that protects the soft dentin behind it, and also gives your teeth their bright, white sparkle.
Dentin is either yellowish or grayish. When your enamel is thin, the dentin shows through. So, if your teeth become discolored with age, it could simply be that you can see the dentin through the enamel.
Just as you can’t stop aging, you also don’t have a say-so in your genetic code. Genetics can affect how quickly your enamel thins, as well as how easily your teeth stain.
Even though you can’t control some of the things that impact whether your teeth begin to yellow, you can some things do to slow the process or to keep your teeth white after a professional treatment.
Practice excellent dental hygiene
You can’t keep beautiful white teeth without making the effort to care for them. Brush thoroughly twice a day, floss once, use mouthwash once a day, and see your dentist regularly.
Doing these basic things is probably the most important step in keeping your teeth white, because good oral hygiene also keeps your teeth healthy.
There are so many reasons to avoid tobacco, but if those don’t motivate you, maybe keeping your teeth looking fantastic will. Tobacco stains make your teeth look brown — and increase your risk of developing oral cancer.
You probably already know that coffee, tea, red wine, and grape juice can stain your teeth. It’s unlikely you’re going to give up your morning cup or your evening wine if those are important to you, but you can mitigate their impact on your teeth.
Consider using a straw. When you drink from a straw, your beverage is in contact with your teeth less.
Brush your teeth after enjoying your beverage to reduce the likelihood of staining. If you can’t brush, make sure you at least rinse your mouth with water.
Some foods, too, can stain your teeth. Blueberries and marinara sauce are two common culprits. Again, brush your teeth if possible after consuming them, and if you can’t, rinse thoroughly.
Protect your enamel
Although your enamel will likely thin with age, you can do some things to help protect it so that it thins more slowly. For example, drinking sugary beverages like soda or sports drinks can be bad for your enamel.
Another common problem is acidic foods and drinks. Fruit juice can be bad for your enamel. If you drink it, be sure to either brush or rinse as soon afterward as possible to minimize the damage.
If you’re concerned about keeping your teeth white and sparkling, schedule an appointment at Santa Monica Bay Dental. We’re happy to answer your questions and make suggestions!