Have your pearly whites lost their luster because of dingy
gray or yellow stains? Stained teeth can occur as we age,
but some common foods, drinks, and even mouthwashes
can stain teeth. Do-it-yourself remedies can help whiten
teeth, and avoiding substances that stain teeth can stop
further discoloration. Use these secrets to whiter teeth to
restore your bright smile.
Do-It-Yourself Teeth Whitening
You may be able to get rid of superficial stains by yourself. A
number of at-home tooth-whitening products -- kits, strips,
toothpastes, and rinses-- may lighten stains. There are even
some old-fashioned remedies you can try. Tooth-whitening
products available on drugstore shelves use mild bleach to
brighten yellow teeth. Toothpastes use abrasives and
chemicals to remove surface stains. For deep stains, you
may need a dentist help.
A home tooth-whitening kit contains car amide peroxide, a
bleach that can remove both deep and surface stains and
actually changes your natural tooth color. If you have coffee-
stained teeth, a tooth-bleaching kit can help. With some kits,
you apply a peroxide-based gel (with a small brush) to the
surface of your teeth. In other kits, the gel is in a tray that
molds to the teeth. The tray must be worn daily (for 30 to
45 minutes) for a week or more.
1. Home Whitening Strips
Tooth-whitening strips will help get rid of tooth stains. These
strips are very thin, virtually invisible, and are coated with a
peroxide-based whitening gel. You wear them a few minutes
daily for a week or more. Results are visible in just a few
days, and last at least a year. The results with strips are not
as dramatic as with whitening kits, but the strips are easy to
use and pretty much foolproof.
2. Whitening Toothpastes and Rinses
How to get stains off your teeth? Over-the-counter
toothpastes, gels, and rinses help remove some surface
stains. Many of these products contain mild abrasives,
chemicals, or polishing agents. Unlike bleaches, they don't
change the natural color of teeth.
3. Home Remedies for Whiter Teeth
Some people still prefer the age-old home remedy of baking
soda and a toothbrush to gently whiten teeth at home. Also,
some foods such as celery, apples, pears, and carrots trigger
lots of saliva, which helps wash away food debris on your
teeth. Chewing sugarless gum is a tooth-cleansing action
and also triggers saliva. A bonus from all that saliva: It
neutralizes the acid that causes tooth decay. With teeth,
more saliva is better all around.
4. Tooth Whitening and Dental Work
Approach tooth whitening with caution if you have lots of
dental veneers, bonding, fillings, crowns, and bridges. Bleach
will not lighten these manufactured teeth -- meaning they
will stand out among your newly whitened natural teeth. In
order to match your whiter teeth, you may need to
investigate new dental work, including veneers or bonding.
5. Preventing Teeth Stains
As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away. The
underlying layer, called dentin, is yellower. Thats why its
important to try to avoid staining teeth in the first place,
especially after whitening. If you take care with foods and
drinks that discolor teeth, the results of whitening may last
up to one year. Whitening teeth too often could make them
look translucent and blue, so you'll want to maintain your
6. To Keep Teeth White, Don't Light Up
Not only is it bad for your health, smoking is one of the
worst offenders when it comes to staining teeth. Tobacco
causes brown stains that penetrate the grooves and pits of
tooth enamel. Tobacco stains can be hard to remove by
brushing alone. The longer you smoke, the more entrenched
the stains become. Smoking also causes bad breath and
gingivitis (gum disease), and increases the risk of most
types of cancer.
7. Foods that Cause Teeth Stains
There's another reason to watch what you eat. Some
common foods can discolor teeth. Here's an easy way to tell
if a food might be at fault: Anything that can stain a white
cotton T-shirt can stain teeth, say dentists. Coffee stains
teeth, for example. Other top offenders are beverages such
as tea, dark sodas, and fruit juices. These teeth stains
develop slowly and become more noticeable as we age.
8. Think As You Drink
They may be packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, but
a glass of red wine, cranberry juice, or grape juice also
stains teeth easily. That doesn't mean you should give them
up, but remember to rinse your mouth after you drink.
These aren't the only teeth-staining foods to be aware of.
9. More Foods That Stain Teeth
The deep color of these fruits and veggies gives them their nutritional punch. But blueberries, blackberries, and beets leave their color on teeth as well. Eat up for your health, and prevent tooth stains by:
· Brushing teeth immediately after eating.
· Rinsing your mouth with water.
10. Sports Drinks Tough on Teeth?
While all sweetened drinks are bad for teeth, some energy and sports drinks may be worse, according to one study in General Dentistry. Researchers found that these drinks -- as well as bottled lemonade -- may erode tooth enamel after long-term use. The result is thin, translucent, discolored teeth. To prevent tooth erosion:
· Don't sit and sip these drinks for a long time.
· Rinse your mouth with water when you finish drinking.
11. Medications That Can Stain Teeth
The antibiotic tetracycline causes gray teeth in children whose teeth are still developing. Antibacterial mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine or cetylpyridinium chloride can also stain teeth. Some antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs, and blood pressure medications cause tooth stains, as can iron and excess fluoride. If bleaching doesn't help, ask your dentist about dental bonding, in which a tooth-colored material is applied to teeth.
12. Don't Forget Daily Maintenance
One simple strategy can help maintain white teeth: brush. Brush at least twice daily. Even better, brush after every meal and snack. Brushing helps prevent stains and yellow teeth, especially at the gum line. Both electric and sonic toothbrushes may be superior to traditional toothbrushes in removing plaque and surface stains on teeth. Also, don't forget to floss and use an antiseptic mouthwash daily.
13. Open Wide and Say 'Whiter Teeth!'
See your dentist for regular checkups and professional cleaning. The abrasion and polishing methods dentists use can remove many teeth stains caused by food and tobacco.
Makeup Tips for Whiter Teeth
Slick on a lipstick or gloss in a shade like cherry red, wine, berry, plum, or rosy pink. The blue-based or pink-based undertones will make any yellowish tones in your teeth less obvious.
Try a lip-plumping formula for a fuller pout. Ingredients like cinnamon and mint boost blood flow to the lips.
Brush, Floss, and Rinse
Follow the basics of good dental hygiene for a dazzling smile. Brush your teeth twice a day -- better yet, after every meal. Replace your toothbrush every 3 or 4 months, or earlier if the bristles start to fray.
Floss at least once a day. Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to fight plaque and to keep your breath fresh. See your dentist for a professional cleaning regularly.
You've got plenty of choices to brighten your teeth without a visit to the dentist's office.
Whitening toothpastes remove surface stains with gentle brushing.
Try whitening gels, pens, rinses, strips, swabs, and trays that you can by in the drugstore. They work by bleaching teeth with a mild peroxide.
Whitening by a Pro
See your dentist for the quickest ways to remove stains and whiten teeth. In the office, he'll paint your teeth with a peroxide gel and then activate the solution with a light or laser.
Your dentist can also give you a custom-fitted mouth guard to use at home. Follow his instructions for using a safe and effective gel for the right length of time.
These might help if you feel thin lips and fine lines are dimming your smile. Hyaluronic acid fillers can plump them up. They can also pad the creases that run from your nose to the corners of the mouth.
A Botox injection can smooth out fine wrinkles around your lips, which are sometimes called "smoker’s lines."
If you smoke, stop! Quitting will help keep those lines from coming back.
Bonding: A Small Fix for Teeth
If your teeth are chipped, broken, cracked, or badly stained, bonding can be an easy fix. It can also be used to fill small gaps between teeth.
Your dentist applies a tooth-colored resin and then molds it like putty to your tooth. He then uses a high-intensity light or laser to harden the material. In the final step he polishes the new bonded tooth.
Get a Veneer 'Makeover'
If your teeth are badly stained, crooked, or misshapen, fixes like bleaching or bonding might not be enough. Try porcelain veneers that cover up trouble spots.
Getting veneers can take two visits to the dentist, but they can change uneven yellow teeth into a straight row of pearly whites. They're custom-made to fit the front surface of your teeth.
Correct a Gummy Smile
The fix could be a surgery called "crown lengthening." Your periodontist, a specialist in gums, will numb your mouth. Then he cuts away extra gum tissue to expose the full length of your front teeth.
The surgery may only take an hour or less. How long it takes for you to recover depends on how much work was done.
Braces for Beauty
They're not just for kids. Braces can straighten your crooked teeth and close gaps in your smile.
They can be made with ceramic, tooth-colored brackets or even clear plastic. In some cases, you may need to wear them for only 6 to 12 months.
Choose the Right Dentist
Helping you keep a bright and healthy smile is an important part of what every dentist does. For some things, though, it’s a good idea to see a specialist.
An orthodontist straightens your teeth. A prosthodontist restores teeth that are missing or that need special repairs. A periodontist specializes in taking care of gums. An endodontist does root canals. Ask your dentist for a recommendation.
The Emotional Upside of Smiling
The benefits are enough to make you, well, smile. Turn up the corners of your mouth into a grin when you’re stressed and you’ll feel calmer.
Smiling lowers blood pressure and releases the body’s natural painkillers. When you smile, people like and trust you more. They also think you’re younger than you are