TV commercials have a way of making us believe in the impossible. We’ve all seen adverts of toothpaste that promise white teeth instantly and questionable whitening products that deliver a boost of brightness after a single-use. The truth is, most of what you see on TV is an utter exaggeration with a little help of Photoshop.
Natural and healthy teeth actually have a yellow tinge to them and anything too white could be entirely genetic or a result of a professional dental procedure. Excessively yellow or stained teeth lie on the opposite end of the spectrum and can be a cause of worry to some people.
There are ways to make your teeth brighter and whiter and to reduce staining but nothing works like magic. Here are all the basic facts you need to know about teeth staining and its treatment!
Why Do Teeth Become Yellow?
There can be a number of causes for stained teeth. Starting from the most obvious reason - poor oral hygiene can directly result in a buildup of plaque and yellowing of the teeth and its enamel. Brushing removes plaque from the enamel and also reduces bacteria in the mouth; both of which decrease teeth staining. Regular and proper brushing technique is essential for good oral hygiene and to prevent yellowing of the teeth.
Your diet can also have a major impact on the colour of your teeth. Foods such as coffee, tea and alcohol are notorious for discolouring the teeth. If you are addicted to any one of these beverages then there’s a good chance that your teeth are stained more than they should be.
Tobacco smoking is another important cause of stained teeth. The components of cigarette smoke can blacken or cause teeth to become yellow. It’s best to quit smoking altogether if you really want good oral hygiene and whiter teeth.
Another cause of teeth staining has nothing to do with diet or your habits; it simply is sometimes an inevitable consequence of aging. Some people will find their teeth getting yellow as they age. This could be because of poor hygiene or just the aging effect on the enamel.
How Can You Prevent Teeth Staining?
Altering your diet, quitting smoking and paying close attention to your oral hygiene can all help prevent discolouration of the teeth.
It’s a good idea to check in with your dentist regularly as well to ensure your teeth are always in top shape.
Foods That Cause Teeth Staining
Apart from coffee, tea and alcohol, there are a bunch of other solid foods that can also play a role in staining your teeth. Brightly coloured fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries can discolour your teeth but this is hardly a problem since the effect is usually temporary. If you frequently consume bright coloured foods then your teeth could become more permanently stained.
Is Green Tea an Offender Too?
Green tea is regarded as one of the healthiest beverages you can consume for various reasons but is it healthy for your teeth?
There has been a lot of speculation and debate regarding the teeth staining effect of green tea and it’s now well-known that green tea can, in fact, cause your teeth to become yellow. Drinking a cup of tea occasionally won’t discolour your teeth but a regular green tea consumer will have yellow teeth in the long run.
Is Mouthwash Effective?
Cosmetic mouthwash that contains hydrogen peroxide is meant to make your teeth whiter but no product will give an instant effect. With regular use of a peroxide mouthwash, you might see good results. However, as with other treatments, for successful teeth whitening that lasts you will need to make mouthwash a permanent part of your dental care routine.
Does Activated Charcoal Actually Work?
Activated charcoal for teeth whitening broke the internet a couple of years ago and it’s still trending heavily. Critics believe it to be ineffective while some users swear by its whitening effects.
The truth is that activated charcoal actually does work – but only temporarily. You can get a rapid whitening effect after a few uses of the product but the effect will never last long enough.
Activated charcoal also has a bunch of side effects that outweigh its benefits, so maybe you shouldn’t go down that road!
Can Braces Make Your Teeth Yellow?
It’s a popular belief that braces can make your teeth yellow and the effect is most obvious when you get the braces removed. Why teeth get stained with braces has actually nothing to do with the braces itself. People with braces find it more tedious to maintain optimal oral hygiene. Poor maintenance of the teeth during the braces treatment is what eventually causes teeth to get stained.
Should You Invest in Over-the-counter Whitening Products?
The short answer is no, you really shouldn’t. There’s no telling how safe a whitening product is and overuse of harsh chemicals can permanently damage the enamel of your teeth.
Unless you’re completely sure about a product and its safety, it’s best to steer clear from such products.
How About Professional Whitening Treatments?
If there’s anything that can actually make your teeth whiter, it’s a professional teeth whitening treatment at a dentist’s office. Your dentist will use several teeth bleaching products to get a whitening effect that will be able to remove all sorts of discolouration on the teeth.
Although highly effective, teeth whitening treatment is an expensive procedure and its effects are never permanent. Your teeth will remain picture perfect for about 6 months at most.
In short, there really is nothing that will keep your teeth white for long except good oral hygiene with high-quality products. It’s always a good idea to invest in the best mouthwash that is cosmetically effective, and learn proper brushing and flossing technique.
And remember – it’s OK for your teeth to be a little yellow because that’s how they were meant to be!