We all know that consuming certain foods and beverages on a regular basis can gradually cause teeth to lose their pearly-white shine. Over-indulging in treats like candy and soda, and especially harmful habits like smoking tobacco, eventually turn teeth an unsightly yellow color. But you may be surprised to learn that even some otherwise healthy habits could be discoloring your teeth. Fortunately, esthetic dentistry practices like in-office teeth whitening can restore your shining smile. But let’s first dive into what “healthy” habits could be tarnishing your teeth.
But shouldn’t whitening toothpastes whiten your teeth? Ideally, yes, but not every so-called-whitening product on the market is exactly what it seems. In fact, they could be causing more harm than good. While whitening toothpastes may indeed remove surface stains, they are often abrasive, causing damage to the enamel and making the teeth even more prone to staining. The same goes for the beauty industry’s latest fad: charcoal toothpaste. Not only is the charcoal abrasive, but the particles can become embedded in the teeth or around crowns and fillings, leading to more staining.
Tea — it’s the healthy alternative to coffee when you need a quick caffeine fix, right? And we all know how easily coffee can stain our teeth. But the unfortunate truth is that tea can cause yellowing and staining, too. Coffee and tea both contain tannins, a major culprit behind yellowing teeth. Some evidence has indicated that increasing the amount of milk or cream in your tea or coffee could help to counteract the staining process.
This one might be unavoidable as you should always take the proper medications prescribed by your doctor. But it’s true: yellowing of the teeth is sometimes reported as a side-effect of certain medications and medical treatments. For instance, antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline may discolor teeth when taken by children whose teeth are not yet fully developed. Antihistamines, antipsychotic medications, and drugs for high blood pressure have also been known to cause discoloration. And cancer treatments that involve radiation and chemotherapy may also lead to discoloration, particularly if they are focused on the neck or head regions.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but dark berries can stain your teeth. You need fruit in your diet. For white teeth, though, just pay attention to the kinds of fruits you’re consuming on a daily basis. Vibrantly-colored fruits like blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and pomegranates are likely to stain your teeth. Less colorful fruits, like white grapes, may not cause as much yellowing; however, they do still contain acid, which is known to soften and weaken the enamel.
A recent survey revealed that 80% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 want whiter teeth. While you can’t (and shouldn’t) avoid all of the otherwise healthy habits listed above, you can take steps to correct discoloration. Esthetic dentistry is all about improving the look of your teeth. Cosmetic dentists take your dental care to the next level, providing you with the tips, products, and services you need for a bright, healthy smile. Contact Westchase Esthetic Family Dentistry today to learn all about our professional-grade teeth whitening techniques.