New Year, New You!… or that’s how it’s supposed to go, anyway. But how can you feel like the best version of yourself when your teeth are just as dull and discolored as they were last year? A new year is the ultimate time to take advantage of one of the many dental treatments meant to give you a whiter, brighter smile.
Why Are Your Teeth Dull and Discolored?
It’s easy– too easy!– to expose your teeth to substances that take away their white luster. Everything from your food and medication to your brushing habits may be responsible for the condition of your teeth.
What You Eat and Drink
Food and drinks are the most common culprits of staining to the outer layer of your teeth. Coffee, wine, soda, and other dark-colored favorites contain potent pigments that bond to and stain tooth enamel, leaving your smile looking dull and unattractive.
Here are a few of the worst offenders:
- Black coffee and tea
- Soda and dark juices
- Dark condiments like soy sauce
- Red wine
- Dark berries
Other unhealthy foods are also to blame. Is most of your diet consists of processed foods loaded with sugar and acid? If so, your teeth are more vulnerable to plaque, cavities, and decay.
Poor Oral Care
Your teeth and gums are exposed to everything you eat and drink- the good, the bad, and the ugly. So if you fail to brush and floss regularly, it’s all too easy for bacteria, acid, and plaque to accumulate and harden into tartar. Plaque and tartar both create an unsightly yellow coating around your teeth that leads to other issues like bad breath, decay, and tooth loss.
Age and Health
Age-related discoloration is almost impossible to avoid because enamel thins with age and reveals more of each tooth’s underlying yellow dentin. When you combine this effect with the culmination of 60 or 70 years of food and beverage stains, the results can’t be ignored.
Unfortunately, many medications can also cause tooth discoloration as a side effect. Antibiotics like tetracycline and amoxicillin, as well as drugs used for allergies and high blood pressure, are a few of the worst culprits.
Before smoking or diabetes will kill you, they’ll turn your smile an unpleasant shade of yellow-ish brown. Other poor habits may also play a role in diminishing the brilliance of your smile, like biting on hard objects.
Luckily for all of us, there are many professional dental treatments and DIY hacks known to create brighter smiles and whiter teeth.
Tip 1: Try Professional Teeth Whitening
Though you can walk into any drug store and purchase a whitening kit, it is a much better idea to see your dentist for a professional whitening system. Only your dentist can offer the tools and techniques that will give you a truly bright smile.
Your dentist will assess the condition of your teeth and recommend the best treatment for your smile. Any procedure he recommends will use professional-grade whitening products that quickly breakdown stains into smaller, less concentrated pieces. This restores the white color to your teeth and helps you smile with confidence. Laser teeth whitening is now also possible as an innovative way to enhance the effects of the bleaching gel for quick and dramatic results.
Tip 2: Consider a Smile Makeover with Porcelain Veneers
If your smile needs more than basic whitening, veneers offer an easy way to achieve a healthier, whiter smile. Each individual porcelain veneer is a very thin, custom-made shell that’s carefully crafted to cover the front side of your tooth.
Porcelain veneers create a natural appearance across your entire smile using durable porcelain material. Since porcelain has a translucent quality, it closely mimics the look and feel of your real teeth. Thanks to the durability of porcelain, these veneers are resistant to staining and most chipping. They have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years with proper care, so you can enjoy your new and improved appearance without any second thoughts.
You should expect to receive multiple veneers at once. Some patients only need one veneer to cover a broken or jagged tooth. Other patients prefer to six to eight veneers in order to create an attractive and symmetrical smile along the top row of teeth.
Tip 3: Tooth-Colored Composite Fillings
Composite (tooth-colored) fillings are used to repair teeth affected by decay, cracks, fractures and other types of damage, while preserving a more natural tooth appearance. If you need to repair significant damage to one of your back teeth, but don’t want your fillings to be obvious when you smile, ask your dentist about composite fillings.
Tip 4: Brush With Baking Soda
Baking soda is a common ingredient in natural toothpaste because it provides extra scrubbing power. In addition to use with normal brushing, you can also use plain baking soda once a week to scrub away surface stains on your teeth. Just make sure you only use this natural hack periodically; baking soda is an abrasive material that can hurt your teeth if used regularly.
Tip 5: Try an Activated Charcoal Toothbrush
Activated charcoal is a natural substance that’s become very popular in holistic oral care. When it comes in contact with your teeth, activated charcoal’s adsorptive properties immediately bond to the molecules creating stains, yellowing, and brown marks on your teeth. Toxins and discoloration-causing molecules are pulled gently out of your teeth and spit right into the sink.
The easiest way to enjoy the benefits of activated charcoal is to brush with a charcoal toothbrush. Consider these impressive benefits compared to your conventional toothbrush:
- Removes plaque without weakening teeth or causing sensitivity
- Adds whitening power to your brushing by pulling stains out of enamel
- Eliminates bad breath by removing toxins from teeth, gums, and tongue
- Cleanses gum tissues drawing pathogens out of their tiny hiding spots
By protecting your gums from the accumulation of bacteria and acids, your activated charcoal toothbrush can prevent gingivitis and help you maintain a white, confident smile.
Tip 6: Make DIY Mouthwash
Most conventional mouthwash products contain harsh alcohol and other ingredients that might dry out your mouth or cause your teeth to feel sensitive. You can save money and nurture a whiter smile by making your own natural mouthwash with essential oils.
Essential oils are highly concentrated botanical oils used since ancient times for their therapeutic properties. Tea tree and peppermint oils are two of the most popular essential oils used in DIY mouthwash because they’re versatile and backed by time-tested research.
Blend the following ingredients to make your own remineralizing mouthwash:
- 2 drops tea tree essential oil
- 2 drops peppermint essential oil
- ½ cup filtered water
- 2 tsp baking soda
Just swish and spit twice a day to combat unwanted plaque and keep your smile looking its best.
Tip 7: Begin Daily Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy that recently entered the spotlight as a modern day natural oral health trick. Using nothing more than coconut oil, this simple technique improves oral hygiene, removes toxins from the mouth, and helps your teeth look a few shades whiter.
Oil pulling is simple– place a spoonful of oil into your mouth and swish for 20 minutes. Then spit the oil into the trash and rinse your mouth. The bacteria and debris in your mouth are pulled out by the oil, leaving you with a healthier, whiter smile.
By oil pulling once a day, you can achieve impressive benefits:
- Use antioxidants to damage and kill microorganisms
- Purify gum tissue of toxins
- Slow or stop the bacteria responsible for cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and bad breath
Creating a brighter, whiter smile in the New Year doesn’t have to be complicated. With an experienced San Diego dentist by your side, you can improve the health of your teeth and let your smile shine. Call Dr. Yaron Miller today to learn more about Vista Dentistry and schedule your first appointment.