Teeth whitening is one of the most requested cosmetic dentistry procedures in the United States. It’s easy to understand why since a bright smile exudes a warm and welcoming persona. Yet, most people have a natural tooth color that’s less than perfectly white. That’s because tooth enamel is porous enough to pick up stains from significantly colored food and drink.
It’s no wonder that teeth whitening is big business in the country. Pharmacy shelves are full of home whitening solutions, but these consumer products can’t match the abilities of professional whitening solutions available through Metairie Village Dentistry. Dr. Lisa Wyatt and her team can help you achieve shades of white, often 8-10 shades brighter than where you started.
Your treatment isn’t permanent, though, since your teeth remain vulnerable to staining factors. Understanding the hows and whys of tooth stains may help you extend the life of your whitening treatment. Here’s what you need to know to make your best smile last the longest.
Why are my teeth losing their whiteness?
Ask a child to color in a smile, and chances are they’ll reach for a white crayon. Teeth are white, right? The fact is, teeth come in four natural shades: gray, reddish-gray, reddish-yellow, and reddish-brown. These colors vary in brightness and hue. Your natural shade is often a product of genetics. However, that isn’t the only factor determining your current tooth shade.
While tooth enamel is the brightest part of your tooth, it’s a translucent material. As you get older, tooth enamel can thin out due to accumulated wear and exposure to acidic foods, revealing more of the underlying dentin layer, which is, you guessed it, deep yellow.
Food and drink
The tastiest food can often include ingredients that stain your tooth enamel. The biggest culprits include colorful berries, exotic spices, and rich tomato-based pasta sauces. Choosing a balsamic vinegar dressing introduces acids that can etch that enamel as well as dark, staining pigments. Coffee, tea, sodas, and red and white wine can dull your smile too.
While fluoride naturally strengthens tooth enamel, it’s possible to get too much of a good thing. Called fluorosis, overexposure to fluoride can cause spotty staining on your teeth.
If your mother took certain antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy, or if you took them before the age of eight, you may develop permanent tooth stains.
Nicotine is not only the addictive substance in cigarettes, but it’s also a potent staining agent, turning teeth deep yellow and brown colors. Chewing tobacco stains teeth, too, as do electronic cigarettes and vaping equipment.
One method we use is the Zoom!® teeth whitening system at Metairie Village Dentistry, an effective, light-assisted whitening method that produces dramatic results in a single treatment. It also features complimentary home-use products to extend your whitening session.
Find out more about reversing teeth stains with a visit to our office. You can schedule an appointment online or by phone. Book your session today.