They say first impressions can make or break a relationship. One of the first thing people notice about others is their smile; or more accurately how bright and white that particular smile is. Nobody wants to go out and face the world with yellow teeth but with today’s modern diet it is becoming increasingly more difficult to keep our pearly whites shining. Most dental offices offer tooth whitening options along with their teeth cleaning services. So, if you have the cash to spend, why not get a professional to help brighten your smile.
Most yellowing is caused by staining. Substances like wine, tea, coffee and of course, tobacco can leave behind a telltale yellow hue after repeated consumption. Yellowing can however also be caused by the erosion of tooth enamel revealing the layer of dentin underneath.
Dentin is a bone like substance that forms the major portion of a tooth. It is naturally yellow in colour which leads to the stained appearance of eroded teeth. While tooth enamel cannot be replaced, affected teeth can be treated with dental techniques like tooth bonding and crown applications. In tooth bonding, a method used to treat mild to moderate erosion, a resin is tinted to match the patient’s teeth, then applied to the teeth and allowed to harden. When the erosion is more severe, a crown can be used to cap the tooth to cover and protect the damaged area.
Some natural erosion over time is normal, however, in many cases, a simple change in diet and/or lifestyle can help to prevent tooth erosion from getting out of control. Eliminating foods that cause erosion is a good place to start. Foods that are high in sugar or starch encourage the production of natural acids in the mouth and increase the wear and tear on your teeth. Drinks that contain citric acid are best consumed in moderation, or avoided altogether, including fruit juices and some brands of flavoured water; even water with lemon can be a danger if consumed too often.
Unfortunately not all causes can be avoided; sometimes genetics, medications, and medical conditions like acid reflux can have a negative impact on your oral health. Symptoms that can indicate the need for intervention can include increased tooth sensitivity and fragility, visual yellowing of teeth, uneven edges on teeth and an increase in tooth decay. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms caused by tooth erosion it is always best to seek professional assistance with regards to diagnosis and treatment.
If however your tooth discolouration is being caused by staining there are several things that you can try at home. Abstaining from the foods that stain is always a good place to start but if your love of your favourite foods overpowers your desire to have a smile that lights up the room, there are tonnes of options available to you.
If you are looking for a slightly cheaper option, there are multiple over the counter whitening kits to choose from. Make sure you do a product comparison, check the ingredients as well as the product description to ensure that you are using the option that is best suited to you and your needs. Some products are more gentle on tooth enamel than others, some provide a quick and easy application while others are focused on offering the best possible results using natural ingredients. Don’t just settle for the cheapest brand as it could have long term effects on your oral health and be sure to always use them as directed, to avoid any accidental damage to your teeth.
If you are looking for something a little more natural there are several home remedies you can try:
One popular method is to combine coconut oil and baking soda in a jar and use it as a homemade toothpaste. The baking soda is mildly abrasive and will help to scrub away stains while the coconut oil is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory so it will help to keep your mouth healthy as well as clean.
Oil pulling is also a favourite method for keeping the mouth clean. Simply take a teaspoon of coconut oil into your mouth and swish it around, ‘pulling’ it through the gaps between your teeth.
Some people like to use hydrogen peroxide as it works well as a bleaching agent that can be used two different ways. It can be mixed with baking soda to create a homemade toothpaste or it can be used in a diluted form as a rinse before brushing. In either case, be sure to use this particular method in moderation as it can cause erosion and damage in the long term.
Of course the simplest methods are those basic dental hygiene truths that we all learn as children. Brush and rinse after every meal, and eat as many raw veggies as possible.