Posted by Dr. William Yoo
Bright, white teeth are truly a thing of desire, so it’s no surprise that teeth whitening is a multi-billion dollar industry. Achieving that perfect smile and a full set of white and bright teeth is a major source of confidence for many people.
Many methods of professional and at-home whitening techniques and products are available to keep your teeth from yellowing. Some teeth whitening methods are milder than others and use simple, natural products to achieve a brighter shade, whereas other whitening products use chemicals to bleach your teeth.
Why do teeth begin to yellow in the first place? It would certainly be easier if teeth maintained their bright, white sparkle at all times. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors which can cause teeth to become dull in colour and shift from white to yellow, including:
Discolouration caused by staining of the enamel or the build-up of plaque can usually be treated with simple cleaning and whitening remedies. Irrespective of how your teeth may become yellow, there are several ways to help whiten them.
Whether you’re looking for natural whitening tips or more aggressive treatments, at Roots on Whyte Dental, we’re here to give you our best tips to keep your teeth from yellowing.
The best way to maintain your oral health and brightness of your smile is by ensuring that you practise good oral hygiene on a daily basis and stay away from bad habits, such as smoking or chewing tobacco. Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause discoloration of your teeth.
It’s also important to maintain a twice-daily brushing and regular flossing routine following meals. This is to help reduce bacteria in your mouth and avoid plaque build-up to help your teeth remain white.
When you apply toothpaste to your teeth, it helps rub the stains off of your teeth, while flossing can help reduce plaque-causing bacteria. Combine your brushing and flossing routine, with regular dental examinations and cleanings to keep your teeth clean and white.
Some commercial toothpaste contains baking soda because of its natural whitening properties. Baking soda functions as a mild abrasive, which when used to brush teeth, can help to scrub away stains from their surface. It can also change the chemical environment of your mouth, making it more alkaline, which helps to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Although it hasn’t been shown that baking soda has direct whitening effects, a study has found that toothpaste containing baking soda was more effective at removing yellow stains as well as plaque, compared to a toothpaste without baking soda. Although, use with caution to avoid damaging your tooth enamel.
Hydrogen peroxide is another natural bleaching agent that kills bacteria in the mouth. Although many commercial whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide, no studies have examined the effects of rinsing or brushing with hydrogen peroxide.
There have been studies into commercial toothpaste that contain baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. These studies found that brushing twice daily with toothpaste containing hydrogen peroxide and baking soda has led to whiter teeth over a six week period.
That being said, the use of hydrogen peroxide should be carefully monitored, and diluted concentrations should be used to avoid any effects, such as tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.
Staining is a natural process that occurs as you age, but with the right preventative methods — including managing your diet — you can help prevent staining and maintain your pearly white teeth. The simplest way to do this is by limiting foods and beverages which can stain your teeth. These foods and drinks include coffee, red wine, sodas, and dark coloured berries.
Try drinking beverages that are likely to stain your teeth through a straw to limit the contact they have with your teeth. Ensure you brush your teeth soon after consuming these foods and beverages to curb their staining effects.
Alternatively, foods rich in calcium — such as milk and kale — are involved in the protection of your tooth enamel from erosion. The erosion of tooth enamel can reveal the yellow dentin layer underneath, which can be countered with the consumption of calcium-rich foods, which help strengthen your enamel.
Stay away from added and processed sugars – there’s no age at which excessive sugars are good for the body or teeth.
If you want to keep your teeth from yellowing, it’s important to limit your sugar intake. When you consume a diet that is high in added sugars, you facilitate the growth of Streptococcus Mutans bacteria, which are the main cause of the plaque and gingivitis that can stain your teeth. If you do consume foods high in sugar, brush your teeth immediately afterwards.
The types of foods and drinks you consume can impact the colour and health of your teeth and body. It’s important to make smart choices when consuming foods and drinks and aim to maintain a diet that is high in both fruits and vegetables.
Crunchy and raw fruits and vegetables with high water content can help to rub the plaque off of teeth as you chew them. Chewing on crunchy fruits and vegetables can also increase the production of saliva, which can help remove food particles that may be stuck between the teeth.
Fresh fruits and vegetables contain enzymes that help to wash away harmful acids from your mouth to help keep your mouth and teeth clean. However, this should not be considered an alternative to brushing your teeth at least twice a day.
Studies have found variable effectiveness of different types of fruits in the whitening process; however, further research is required to understand how the best teeth whitening results can be achieved. However, lemons or other highly acidic fruits should not be consumed excessively.
Activated charcoal is another commonly used method of stain removal from teeth. Charcoal is a very absorbent substance that can be used to absorb and remove stains — as well as bacteria and toxins — from your teeth and mouth.
Similar to baking soda, activated charcoal is abrasive and can damage the enamel if used long term. It is recommended to talk to your dentist to see if activated charcoal is safe for you to use.
A subtle and gradual change in the colour of your teeth is natural as you age. As the outer layer of enamel on your teeth wears away over time, the yellow coloured dentin underneath becomes more visible, which makes teeth appear more yellow over time.
There are many ways you can help protect the enamel of your teeth from staining. We have described a number of different simple and natural remedies to help whiten your teeth. Our best advice is to commit to healthy habits, which will keep your teeth remain whiter and healthier for life, and utilize some treatments, rotating them throughout the year.
With that said, it’s important to keep in mind that excessive teeth whitening can be harmful because it can damage the enamel of your teeth and gums, leading to sensitivity and cavities. Aim to prevent staining before it even occurs and maintain good oral hygiene to keep your teeth healthy and brilliantly white.
Stained teeth can also be a sign of further underlying problems that cannot be solved by whitening your teeth. This is why regularly visiting the dentist for a professional examination and cleaning is important to catch any problems before they arise.
To learn more about how you can keep your teeth from yellowing, call Roots on Whyte Dental at 888-602-2308 or contact us here.