Studies consistently show that a nice smile is one of the features people rank most highly in terms of attractiveness. But one common problem people have is developing stained or discolored teeth over time from years of consuming certain foods and beverages. Fortunately, by finding out which foods to watch out for and learning about your teeth whitening options, you can erase years of stains and help your teeth stay white over the long-term. Want to learn more? Keep reading below!
Which Foods Causes Staining and Discoloration?
- Coffee and tea
- Citrus (citrus doesn’t stain teeth directly, but it is an acid that wears away at the enamel over time and exposes the darker layer of tooth structure underneath called dentin)
- Red wine
- Dark-colored juice
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Tomato sauce
What Are Your Options For Teeth Whitening?
If you have stains from consuming the items mentioned above and want to whiten your smile, it’s a good idea to use a professional option rather than something over-the-counter. Professional products are safe and gentle on your enamel, considerably stronger than store-bought varieties, and also contain ingredients to minimize sensitivity. And while there are in-office and take-home options, a take-home kit offers several advantages, including:
- While just as effective, take-home kits are less expensive.
- You have control over how often and how much you whiten, which is especially helpful for people with sensitive teeth.
- If you opt for a take-home option that uses custom-made trays, you can re-use them for many years and touch up your results as often as you’d like.
- You can whiten when it’s convenient for you instead of making an appointment.
There are some differences between various take-home options. Some use custom-made trays that you fill with whitening gel while others use pre-filled trays that can’t be re-used (this option is less expensive). To find out which one is right for you, schedule a visit with an experienced cosmetic dentist who can evaluate your needs and recommend the best choice. Regardless of which one you use, you’ll get a smile that’s 4-8 shades lighter in about 10-14 days.
How Can You Maintain Your Results?
Once your teeth have been whitened, you can maintain your results by maintaining good oral hygiene, minimizing the foods and beverages listed above, and using whitening toothpaste to remove surface stains. Make sure to get regular checkups and cleanings as well. And when you do consume something dark in color, be sure to swish with water several times afterward to rinse away any pigments before they settle on your teeth.
Ultimately, a brighter smile will take years off your appearance, greatly improve your self-confidence, and give you a smile that you’ll love to show off!
About the Author
Dr. L. King Scott has been a general, restorative and cosmetic dentist for 40 years. In that time, he’s seen how having a white, beautiful smile enhances his patients’ lives for the better and is thrilled to offer multiple teeth whitening options to fit everyone’s needs. If you’d like a whiter smile and have any questions, he can be reached via his website.