There is an endless supply of articles, reports and journalism surrounding the effect that a smile has, not only on the people who can see it, but on the person who is smiling. Most agree that the positive social feedback from smiling is incredibly important for our sense of belonging, and our ability to feel comfortable in social situations. If you find yourself trying not to smile due to tooth discolouration, you may actually be creating more problems for yourself in the future. So, after speaking with an East Bentleigh dentist, we’ve come up with some tips on how to polish up those pearly whites.
On the surface it seems fairly obvious. If you don’t brush your teeth, you will eventually find that they stain and, eventually, actually become damage. Once the enamel — the protective layer on your teeth — is eroded, treatment is limited, more complex, and far more expensive.
Make sure you know what you’re putting in your mouth, though. Many of the products on the shelf at the supermarket may whiten in the short-term, but leave you more susceptible to stains and damage in the future.
For example, the fluoride that is often found in toothpastes as a defence against tooth decay, has been linked to dental fluorosis — the appearance of specks in the enamel of your teeth. Though this is not immediate, prolonged use can cause these specks to appear.
If you are able to, it is worth visiting the dentist for a check up. If you are afraid of dentists, just remind yourself that you’re only going in for a standard clean. It’s far easier to maintain good dental hygiene if you have a solid starting point.
Be Careful What Goes In
Anything that you eat, drink, or inhale, regardless of how careful you are, will at some point touch your teeth. Particles that stick to the tongue, for example, can end up rubbed into the back of your teeth, or squeezed between them. Certain foods contain ingredients that, if they are eaten regularly or left on the teeth for long enough, will almost guarantee staining. Coffee, red wine, and cigarette tobacco are the most well-known culprits. Also, cola, red wine and balsamic vinegar.
These are all what is called extrinsic stains — stains that come from outside the tooth. And they are the easiest to treat. Mouthwashes with a low level of peroxide, for example, are shown to have impressive effects. And there are plenty of treatments available if you have a bit of extra money to put towards it.
Know Your Body
Intrinsic stains — those that come from within the tooth itself — can also occur. Certain antibiotics can influence the enamel in such a way that the yellowish dentine (or dentin in American English) underneath shows through, as can changes in your hormones, or any number of other things. Even ageing eventually leads to the dentine being more visible.
There are things that can be done, though. Bleaching treatments will still work, though the bleach must penetrate deeper into the tooth. A dentist can also cape the teeth with a natural-white resin that mimics the texture of healthy teeth.
Of course, it helps to seek the help of a professional if you are looking at whitening your teeth — chemically or otherwise. If your teeth are prone to staining, it may actually be indicative of an underlying issue that could be treated, and end your problems long-term. The benefits of a bright, healthy smile are well-documented, and can improve self-esteem, confidence and approachability. With a little research, and by asking the right questions, you can have a confident smile that will affect you to your core.