7 Tips to Keep Your Teeth White and Prevent Tooth Discoloration

Keep your white teeth

How can you make your teeth stay white?

Having bright, white teeth is something that many Americans want. But this becomes increasingly difficult over time. As we age, teeth become stained and discolored due to lifestyle, diet, and genetics, but you can do a few things to maintain a white smile and prevent stained teeth.

3 Types of Tooth Staining

Discolored teeth often occur because of surface stains, changes in your tooth structure, or a combination of the two. Dental experts have put tooth discoloration into three main categories.

1. Extrinsic Staining  

This type of staining occurs on the tooth’s surface because pigmented particles build up and cover the tooth’s enamel. These are often caused by drinking and eating foods that stain.

2. Intrinsic Staining 

Intrinsic staining occurs below the tooth’s surface. It happens because staining particles get through the tooth’s exterior and gather within the enamel. Excessive fluoride use is an example of intrinsic staining, but it can also be caused by dental trauma or certain medications.

3. Age-Related Staining 

Age-related stains occur when intrinsic and extrinsic forces combine. This progression is natural and is most noticeable in older adults. Our age also influences tooth color because enamel begins thinning, and the yellow dentin shows through.

Causes of Stained Teeth

Teeth stains and discoloration have many causes. Some are avoidable, like eating certain foods, while others are out of your control. The most common causes of stained teeth include the following:

  • Eating and drinking staining foods 
  • Using tobacco products 
  • Poor dental hygiene 
  • Trauma or disease 
  • Medical treatments, like high blood pressure medicine or chemotherapy

How to Maintain White Teeth 

Practicing good oral hygiene is the most important thing you can do to help prevent stained teeth. You can do this by brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day and flossing daily.

But that’s not all it takes. You can follow several tips to keep your pearly whites looking their whitest.

1. Avoiding Staining Foods and Drinks 

Some foods and drinks are well-known culprits for staining teeth. Limiting your consumption of these foods is best for maintaining white teeth. The most common items are coffee, tea, red wine, and dark berries.

You don’t have to give up the foods and drinks you love, though. You can still drink coffee, but don’t sip it for hours. Drink your cup of joe and then rinse with water afterward.

Tea stains are just as bad as coffee, so follow the same rule of thumb when drinking tea. You can also drink staining liquids through a straw to limit their contact with your teeth.

2. Using a Whitening Toothpaste 

ADA-approved whitening toothpastes can help remove extrinsic stains and stop new ones from forming. Buy a toothpaste that contains known whitening agents, like hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. But remember that they can be abrasive, and you should limit their use.

3. Enriching Your Diet with Foods That Help Whiten Teeth 

Did you know some foods can help improve the color of your teeth? Crunchy foods, like carrots, apples, and celery, help whiten your teeth naturally by increasing saliva production. Saliva is a key component in protecting your teeth from staining.

4. Considering Professional Teeth Whitening Products 

There are hundreds of teeth whitening products available at your local pharmacy. Some of them are effective, but a cosmetic dentist near Anchorage can create professional custom whitening trays for you. 

These trays fit your mouth and hold the whitening agent that works over several weeks to whiten your teeth. The bleaching gel is often a higher concentration than what you can buy in the store, allowing it to deeply penetrate the tooth and alter the color.  

If you’re looking for more noticeable results faster, then in-office whitening can whiten your teeth by several shades in just one visit. Because the treatment is administered by a licensed professional, your dentist can use stronger solutions for fast results safely.  

5. Quitting or Limiting Tobacco Use 

Everyone knows smoking is bad for your lungs and heart, but it can also affect your smile. Tobacco products get stuck in the openings of your tooth’s enamel, causing staining and making your teeth appear yellow or brown. Breaking this habit will prevent discoloration and improve your overall health.  

6. Switching to an Electric Toothbrush  

Some people have more success brushing their teeth with an electric toothbrush because they clean them more often than with a manual version. However, plaque removal depends more on the quality of brushing than the style of toothbrush you use.

7. Scheduling Regular Visits with Your Dentist 

Your teeth don’t become stained overnight. It takes a while for staining foods and drinks to create a noticeable difference. Getting a professional cleaning allows the hygienist to use special instruments and toothpaste to thoroughly clean your mouth.

These cleanings reduce your chances of developing a cavity or other dental conditions and can improve the color of your smile.

Keep your teeth white with the best dentist near Anchorage.

When you’re uncertain about how to start your teeth whitening journey, there’s no better place to start than with a cosmetic dentist. Schedule your routine visit with Valley Dental Clinic for a professional cleaning and the best recommendations for keeping your teeth white.