A healthy, white smile is one of the things almost everyone dreams about. If you too have found yourself wishing your teeth were more pearly white, but you’re suffering from the appearance of teeth stains, well, you’re not alone. Teeth discoloration is a common occurrence that happens to most people for a variety of reasons. The good news is that most of these stains can easily be cured and prevented. To help you on your journey to a whiter smile, we’ll explain everything you need to know to keep your pearly whites looking their best.
What are teeth stains?
As the name suggests, teeth stains are when the color of your teeth changes. The natural color of your teeth is light yellow, but because of various factors, your teeth tend to darken or develop dark spots in places completely. There are three main types of teeth stains:
Extrinsic stains: Extrinsic stains are caused by various foods, beverages, or tobacco. These stains affect only the surface of the tooth and can easily be corrected.
Intrinsic stains: Intrinsic stains are located within the tooth caused due by injury, excessive fluoride content, or medications. Over-the-counter products may not be effective in treating intrinsic stains, which are primarily gray.
Age-related stains: As the name suggests, we get these types of stains as we grow older. As a result, dentin’s natural, yellowish color becomes more visible, and your teeth become more susceptible to staining caused by extrinsic and intrinsic factors.
What causes teeth stains?
Coffee, tea, tobacco, coca-cola, wine, certain medications, and darkly colored foods are the prime culprits that take a toll on your pearly whites. In addition, not brushing and flossing regularly can make the enamel even more vulnerable to staining. The good news is that the yellower your teeth get, the easier it will be to remove these stains.
Some of the most common tooth-staining culprits include:
- Black coffee and tea
- Balsamic vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Tomato sauce and other red sauces
- Blueberries, blackcurrants, blackberries
Smoking is a risk factor for a number of oral diseases. It can lead to oral mucosal lesions, oral cancer, periodontal disease, and consequent tooth loss. However, the most visible dental manifestation is tooth discoloration and the appearance of yellow, brown, or even black stains on teeth. (1)
How to prevent teeth from getting yellower?
The best way to avoid getting yellow teeth is by brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. In addition, if you consume teeth-staining beverages, consider drinking them with a straw. This way, the liquid won’t get near the front surface of your teeth.
Creating an acidic environment in your mouth can make your enamel more prone to staining (2). An acidic environment can be made through eating acidic food such as soft juices, vinegar, and fruit juices. To prevent creating an acidic environment in your mouth, make sure to drink enough water, brush your teeth and floss regularly. (3)
How to reduce teeth stains?
Reducing teeth stains is all about honing healthy habits. With several simple lifestyle changes, you may be able to prevent teeth stains easily. On top of following these tips, make sure to get dental check-ups and cleanings every six months.
1. Brush. Brush. Brush.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to brush your teeth after every meal meticulously. Wait for 30 minutes after the meal before brushing your teeth. This will allow your enamel to settle and your saliva to wash away the acids left by the food.
2. Floss daily
By flossing regularly, you’ll be getting rid of the plaque build-up between the teeth where the stain-causing substances like to gather. This way, your teeth will look healthier and cleaner.
3. Avoid smoking
Not only is smoking dangerous for your health, but it also discolors the teeth. So kick the smoking habit to say hello to nice bright teeth.
4. Avoid teeth-staining food
Try eating less teeth-staining food. It is recommended to eat green vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, and spinach, which protect your teeth and prevents staining.
5. Eat crunchy fruits and veggies
Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables that do not stain teeth. For example, cucumbers, apples, and pears are great for your teeth since they help cleanse the stains on the teeth. Other foods that help reduce staining include broccoli, cheese, carrots, celery, pineapple, and raisins.
6. Drink plenty of water
Make sure to drink plenty of water as it can prevent stains from settling in. So next time you drink black coffee or tea, remember to drink water afterward to rinse off your teeth.
7. Try using a straw
When you drink beverages that can stain your teeth, try using a straw so that the liquid does not directly contact the teeth.
8. Limit acidic food consumption
Limit intake of acidic food as it can expose the inner part of the teeth causing yellowish dentin to appear. So avoid acidic foods as much as possible. If you consume them, then sip on some milk after eating, as it helps neutralize the acidity.
9. Brush with baking soda
Baking soda acts as a natural whitening agent and helps remove the stains from the teeth. Today, baking soda constitutes the main ingredient of many major toothpaste brands. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to your regular toothpaste to get rid of stains.
10. Chew sugarless gum
Chewing sugarless gum is beneficial for removing stains from the teeth since it increases the saliva flow in the mouth. Also, cinnamon-flavored gums contain cinnamic aldehyde that will prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
A study by the School of Dentistry at the University of Alberta found that casein in milk helps prevent teeth staining. Moreover, the addition of milk to tea significantly reduces the ability of tea to stain teeth (4).
What Happens During a Professional Teeth Cleaning?
No matter how well you clean your teeth at home, plaque and tartar will build up over time. By getting regular teeth cleanings, not only will your teeth look better, but your dentist will also be able to detect oral health issues before they have a chance to worsen. What’s best, you’ll get a confidence boost when you walk out with a whiter, minty-fresh smile.
A teeth cleaning is a simple and painless procedure that can last between 30 minutes and one hour. If you’re feeling anxious about professional teeth cleaning, we’ll explain each of the steps you can expect during your treatment.
- A physical exam: You will lie back in a dental chair while the dental hygienist examines your teeth with a small mirror.
- Removing plaque and tartar: A dental professional will remove plaque and tartar with a special scaler tool.
- Gritty tooth polish: Next, a polishing agent will be applied to your teeth to make it smooth.
- Expert flossing: The dental hygienist will floss your teeth to remove any plaque that could be between your teeth.
- Rinsing: The last step of the cleaning process is a fluoride treatment that will protect your teeth and help fight against cavities.
Tooth discoloration can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons. Over time, our pearly whites become more yellow or gray as a result of the natural aging process and the foods and beverages we consume. Luckily, stains that appear on the surface of your teeth can easily be prevented and removed. Besides practicing good oral hygiene, you can avoid consuming teeth-staining foods and beverages, and drink lots of water. Finally, it is important to get regular teeth cleanings and oral exams to keep your pearly whites healthy and bright.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Why are my teeth yellow?
There are many causes of yellow staining on teeth. Some of the main ones include improper oral hygiene, smoking, or consuming beverages like black tea, coffee, and red wine.
What are the small white spots on my teeth?
These small white spots could be a sign that you have a cavity. As your tooth decay becomes more advanced, these white spots could turn black. It is important to visit a dentist because it could eventually destroy your tooth and cause serious complications such as tooth abscess or infection if the cavity is left untreated.
What is the best way to brush my teeth?
Brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes. Don’t forget to brush the three surfaces -inside, outside, and chewing side.
Do banana peels whiten teeth?
Even though many people on the internet claim that it can do so, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that banana peels do whiten teeth. However, considering that a banana peel rub is generally harmless for your teeth, you could try it yourself.
- “Smoking and tooth discolouration: findings from a national cross-sectional study” – Pubmed.gov
- “What causes discolored teeth and is there any way to cure or prevent staining?” – tufts.edu
- “The key to maintaining proper pH balance in your mouth” – dentalhealthservices.com
- “Prevention of tea-induced extrinsic tooth stain” – pubmed.gov