By: Michelle Tunquist
Your smile is important. In fact, most Americans believe that their smile is an important social asset. Feeling comfortable with your teeth gives you an advantage when it comes time to smile. If you are worried about how your teeth appear, you may be self conscious and awkward. Most people feel more confident when their teeth are straight, white and clean. White teeth are considered more attractive than stained, discolored teeth. Choosing to whiten teeth is often a first step in improving a smile since it is pretty simple to accomplish with the help of a dentist.
In 2012 the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry put out a survey about whitening. They found some pretty interesting statistics, including:
- 99.7% of Americans believe that a smile is an important social asset.
- 74% of adults believe that an unattractive smile can hurt chances for career success.
- When asked, “What would you most like to change about your smile?” The most common response was: Whiter & Brighter Teeth
Causes of Discoloration
Baby teeth are whiter than adult teeth, and over time adult teeth get stained and discolored. There are many causes for teeth to darken including:
- Genetics. You may get lucky or unlucky here. Your genetics may mean that you have strong, healthy, white teeth, or you may inherit a defect in the tooth enamel that may make it look darker or discolored.
- Developmental Disorders. Fevers, jaundice or other illnesses while teeth are developing can cause problems in developing enamel or make teeth discolored.
- Antibiotics. Use of the antibiotic tetracycline before the age of eight has resulted in discolored teeth.
- Tooth Decay. Decaying teeth may appear dark or discolored.
- Foods. Foods that contain tannin, and coffee and tea can discolor teeth.
- Age. Teeth naturally get darker as we age.
At Home Whitening Tips
There are many simple steps you can take at home to keep you teeth white and clean. Simply brushing and flossing twice a day can make a huge difference in the appearance of your teeth. Other simple at home tips include:
- Whitening Toothpaste. You are already brushing your teeth, it is simple enough to choose a toothpaste that will whiten as it cleans. These days, most brands offer whitening options, and it is a simple fix.
- Whitening Kits. There are many whitening kits that can be purchased at the store. Using these for a period of time can whiten your teeth.
- Prevent Stains. It is probably easiest to prevent stains in the first place. There are many foods that are known to cause stains. Avoiding these foods and other activities known to cause stains will prevent them from occurring. Smoking is known to yellow teeth. Avoid smoking, and drinking coffee, tea, and wine. Or at the very least, reduce your intake of these common stain causing drinks. Soda and sugar filled energy drinks can also cause tooth decay and staining.
- Chew Sugarless Gum. Chewing gum increases saliva production which in turn fights germs.
- Rinse Your Mouth. Even if you can’t brush your teeth between meals, rinse your mouth with water. This will keep stain causing foods from sitting on your teeth where they can seep in and cause more staining.
The quickest and most effective way to get white teeth is to get a whitening treatment at your dentist’s office. Through the in-office whitening treatment, you can get your teeth ten shades whiter in as little as an hour. This is much more effective than trays and strips bought at the store that need to be used for weeks at a time. In-office whitening done by your dentist is done in a way to protect your gums and enamel, lessening the chance of tooth sensitivity. While tooth sensitivity may still occur, you can talk to your dentist for how to handle this if it arises.
Take Home Kits
If you prefer to use a kit at home, your dentist may also have take home kits available. These are also more effective than what you can purchase at the store because they fit your teeth, keeping the gel from leaking in your mouth. Leaking gel causes gum soreness and makes the treatment less effective. Properly fitted trays prevent that from happening.
Get Your Teeth Whitened at Your Idaho Falls Dentistry
We want you to feel confident in your smile. Whiter and brighter teeth can help you smile with confidence. If you are interested in having your teeth whitened, give us a call at (208) 524-1700 today!
By: Michelle Tunquist
It’s no surprise that brushing your teeth is important for keeping your teeth clean and healthy. No doubt you’ve heard it from every dentist you’ve ever visited and also from your parents as a kid. Brush your teeth at least twice a day to keep your smile bright.
Importance of Brushing Your Teeth
There are tons of reasons for why brushing your teeth is important. Though kids (and some adults) argue that it is so hard and time consuming, it really is a fast, easy way to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Two minutes of brushing in the morning, and two minutes at night before bed and you get all these great benefits:
- Save Money. Brushing teeth is a great way to save money. Dental work is expensive, and in many cases, easily avoided. Don’t pay hundreds of dollars to fill a cavity when you can easily prevent cavities by brushing your teeth. Forgetting to brush and avoiding the dentist can lead to more expensive procedures down the road, like root canals and crowns. Save your money by brushing your teeth every day.
- Reduce Chance of Infection. Brushing your teeth is a simple way to reduce your chance of having an infection. When your teeth get infected, you can get a painful abscess in your gums. Avoid the pain just by brushing your teeth.
- Reduces Bacteria. Bacteria in your mouth can lead to tooth decay. Brushing your teeth gets rid of these nasty bacteria that can cause decay or infection.
- Removes Sugar. Bacteria love the sugar in your mouth. When the bacteria feed on the sugar they create an acid that decays your teeth. Brushing your teeth will remove this sugar from your mouth before the bacteria can feast.
- Prevent Tooth Decay. Bacteria eat the sugar in your mouth, creating an acid that wears down your teeth causing decay known as cavities. Simply brush your teeth and reduce your chance of having tooth decay.
- Reduces Gum Disease. Your gums also need to be cleaned. Gum disease is painful and can be avoided, simply by–yes, brushing your teeth!
- Keeps Breath Fresh. Those pesky bacteria also make your breath smell. Guess what, brushing not only removes those stinky bacteria, but the fresh scent of your toothpaste helps to keep your breath minty fresh.
- Remove Stains. Soda, coffee, cigarettes and some foods stain your teeth. Brushing can remove those stains over time.
Do it Right
Since we all know that we should brush our teeth everyday, it is surprising that not everyone is doing it the right way. Here are some tips for how to get the most out of brushing your teeth.
- Choose the Right Toothbrush. There are a lot of different choices out there for toothbrushes. Always choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. Soft bristles can bend and get under the gums. Hard bristles can wear away at teeth and gums. The important thing is to remove plaque, and soft bristles can do this just fine.
- Be Careful with Pressure. Many people think that it is necessary to really scrub teeth to get them clean and they apply too much pressure. Since plaque is soft, teeth don’t actually need to be scrubbed with a lot of pressure. Just like with hard bristles, too much pressure can harm teeth and gums. Gently massage teeth and gums to remove plaque.
- Take Your Time. It is easy to get tempted to do a rush job instead of a thorough brushing. When you wake up late and are in a hurry to get to work, or if you’ve had a long day and just want to get in bed, it is tempting to do a quick brushing. It is important to brush for at least 2 min in the morning and again before bed. Don’t rush through the brushing. Take your time and do it right. Make sure to get every tooth on both sides.
- Change Your Brush. Unfortunately it is common for people to keep their toothbrush for too long. Change your brush every 3 to 4 months. Never share your toothbrush with anyone else, and store it in open air so that it can dry thoroughly to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
- Circular Motion. Another common habit is for people to brush back and forth, from left to right. However, it is much better to start from the gum and move up and down in a circular motion.
- Remember Your Gums. A spot where many people miss is right by the gum line. It is important to have a bristles that bend and can get between the gum and tooth. This will remove the plaque that has a tendency to build up in that spot.
- Wait. Don’t rush to brush immediately after eating. If you have acid on your teeth, the brushing can cause additional damage. Wait 15 to 20 minutes before brushing or at least rinse with water first. This will remove some of the acid so that your teeth are not harmed.
- Use Floss & Mouthwash. At least once a day (twice is better), floss and use mouthwash too. Food can get stuck between teeth and your toothbrush can’t reach every sport. Floss can remove food and buildup between teeth and mouthwash can reach throughout your mouth. A good thorough cleaning is important to keep your smile bright.
Idaho Falls Dentist
Brushing is important for daily care of your teeth. It is also important to visit the dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. Though good brushing will make tooth decay less likely, some problems can still happen. Frequent visits keep small problems from turning into large problems. If you live in the Idaho Falls area, visit our family dentistry to keep your teeth and gums healthy.