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!