Whitening Your Teeth: Three Common Questions
A brighter smile can be a great confidence booster for lots of people! We are often asked how to prevent tooth discoloration and how we whiten teeth, so we’ve rounded up the answers here for you.
What causes teeth to change color?
Teeth can appear discolored on the outside when there is a build-up of plaque, or the tooth enamel becomes stained. Common contributors to stains are dark colored beverages, like coffee and cola, and smoking. Teeth can also change color on the inside due to too much fluoride exposure or use of tetracycline during childhood, trauma to a tooth, or a rare medical condition. (Find more details here: causes of tooth discoloration.)
What can I do to prevent tooth discoloration?
- Don’t smoke / quit smoking.
- Avoid or consume sparingly foods and drinks that stain your teeth, including red wine, coffee, tea and cola, and foods that change the color of your tongue.
- Rinse with water after meals, especially when you enjoy a food or drink that may cause stains.
- Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
How can I whiten my teeth?
If you decide you’d like to whiten your teeth, your best first step is to consult your dentist. Depending on the cause of discoloration and other health factors, you may or may not be a good candidate for whitening treatments or products. Your dentist will be able to tell you if you will benefit from whitening treatment.
The most common whitening solutions are in-office whitening treatments, and over-the-counter products.
- Are performed at your dentist’s office
- Can yield immediate results
- Can whiten teeth as much as 10 shades
- Are used in the comfort of your home
- Come in both dentist-supervised and non-dentist-supervised varieties
- Can take about two weeks to see results
How long whitening results last is varied for both methods, depending on a patient’s unique oral health, diet, genetics and other factors. A ballpark idea would be around six months to two years.
If you have more questions about teeth whitening, you can call any Howard Family Dental location and we’d be happy to talk with you. And don’t forget about our Smiles for Life whitening promotion, March through June!