Want Brighter, Whiter Teeth?

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.


Tooth-Whitening Kits

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

new smile.



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.



At-Home Whitening

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.



Cosmetic Injections

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





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Sunny Dental Clinic  /  Dr. Sanaz Valadi

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