If your teeth are noticeably yellow, over-the-counter whitening treatments and charcoal toothpaste might not provide the results you want. Your tooth enamel should be bright, white, and pearlescent … right? Unfortunately, for many people, struggles with tooth discoloration are just a fact of life. While you might think it’s just “not brushing hard enough” or “using the wrong toothpaste,” there are actually several reasons your teeth might be hard to keep white.
Dr. Padmaja Yalamanchili of Fairfax Family Dentist in Fairfax, Virginia, professionally whitens teeth and provides guidance on how to stop stains from reappearing.
What’s in a stain?
Tooth discoloration can sometimes be caused by circumstances completely out of your control. Certain health conditions will make your teeth look yellow or gray, and so will some medications. There’s even a chance you could have genetic reasons for your discolored teeth.
However, discoloration is what we call extrinsic. This means that your tooth yellowing is caused by an external force. In such cases, you can help stop staining by limiting contact with those agents for a whiter, clearer-looking smile.
Things you drink:
Beverages can be a surefire way to start and maintain stains on your teeth. If you routinely drink any of the following, you can expect your teeth to begin to darken in response:
- Dark sodas
- Fruit juices
- Strong beers or other types of alcohol
A good way to minimize the effects of these beverages is to limit consumption, brush as soon after imbibing as possible, and drink plenty of water after other beverages to help rinse your teeth. Of course, this may not completely solve your problem, but we’ll talk about solutions for lingering stains in a minute.
Things you eat:
Foods you eat can also cause stains, often due to deep colorants in the food. Here are the top culprits from your mealtimes that can cause stains:
- Soy sauce
- Tomato sauce
Again, having these ingredients less often, drinking water with such food choices, and brushing soon after meals can help you keep your teeth from staining as much.
Things you smoke:
Smoking can cause distinct and heavy discoloration. This is true no matter what your preferred smoking substance is, and even if you vape instead of smoke. It can also happen with even more effect if you chew tobacco since the stains transfer directly to your teeth. Better to just give up the habit.
Bad dental hygiene
Naturally, failing to brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings can make your teeth look yellower. In addition, the plaque buildup that causes the tarnished look can hold bacteria that rots your teeth away and causes gum irritation. Make that next dental appointment now, while you're thinking about it!
The solution for teeth stains
You’ve probably seen whitening toothpastes or over-the-counter whitening kits at your local megastore or pharmacy. These can vary greatly in effectiveness and safety. Your better bet is to ask Dr. Yalamanchili about tooth whitening options available in our office. We can make your teeth shiny and white again, and then you can work on keeping them that way.
Ready to have your teeth whitened? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Yalamanchili by calling 703-213-5313 or book an appointment online.