Our smiles are one of the first ways we greet people. Whether it be at an interview, meeting up with friends, or passing a stranger on the street, a friendly smile is a polite way to acknowledge someone else. But what happens when you are insecure about your smile? A stained smile can indicate poor oral hygiene, but it can also be a simple result of years and years of drinking coffee in the morning. At Shores Family Dentistry, we are committed to giving you the smile you’ve always wanted. Keep reading to learn what causes teeth to become discolored, and what you can do to keep them white!

Why Do Our Teeth Turn Yellow?

There are a few reasons why teeth turn yellow. Some are preventable, and others are just part of life for some. Genetics play a big role in the color of your teeth. If your family has yellow teeth, it is likely that you will have yellow teeth also (or reddish brown, gray, and reddish gray – all of which are recognized as natural shades that teeth can exhibit). Normal wear and tear can turn our teeth yellow as we age. Dentin, the substance inside of our teeth, is dark yellow in color. As we age, our enamel thins, exposing the yellow dentin beneath.

Drinking tea, coffee, red wine can all stain your teeth. Along with those drinks, certain foods can stain your teeth as well, including tomatoes, curry, and berries. Smoking cigarettes is a huge culprit when it comes to leaving teeth with brown and yellow stains. And surprisingly, antibiotics can discolor teeth that haven’t even developed yet. If your mother took antibiotics while pregnant with you, or if you took them as a small child, it is possible that you will have permanently stained teeth that require professional bleaching.

There are a handful of other situations that can cause teeth discoloration, including injuries and teeth grinding that damage the enamel. However, just because your teeth are off-color, doesn’t mean they will always be like that. Below, we’ve outlined several steps to take to turn your dull yellows into pearly whites!

Prevention Is The Best Whitening Technique

Allow us to preach for a moment about proper dental hygiene. If your teeth are already pretty white, or are just starting to yellow, using preventative practice is your best friend. Brushing your teeth after meals is a great place to start, as is flossing and rinsing with mouthwash.

Use a straw when drinking dark beverages like coffee and soda. If you feel weird asking for a straw with your glass of wine, don’t worry. Just be sure to drink water immediately after drinking dark-colored beverages to help reduce the amount of acid on your teeth, which can lead to discoloration.

Brush With Baking Soda

This one has been around for decades, and that’s because it works. Baking soda has natural whitening properties and has become a popular ingredient in whitening toothpastes. But that’s not all baking soda does for your teeth. The gritty texture can help gently scrub away stains, while the substance itself helps to prevent bacteria growth. If the taste of baking soda by itself is too intense, whitening toothpastes with baking soda as an ingredient have been shown to be effective at removing stains over time. Just remember, this isn’t a one-and-done whitening technique. Over several months you may see whiter teeth, but be ready to be patient.

Over-The-Counter Whitening Strips

Most major toothpaste companies sell over-the-counter whitening strips. This is thought to be a cost-effective way to whiten your teeth more quickly than simply using a whitening toothpaste, but don’t expect permanent results. Most teeth will return to their original color within the year. If your teeth are particularly stained, you might not see the dramatic results you’re looking for with whitening strips as oftentimes, strips will only brighten your smile a couple of shades. That being said, this is a great option to use for a special occasion where you want your teeth to shine.

Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments

At Shores Family Dentistry, our dentists will make a mouth-guard style tray to use for whitening purposes. These trays are filled with a peroxide solution – the potency of which will depend on what type of stains you have – and you’ll wear these for a couple hours a day or overnight for a few weeks. This can help to significantly whiten your teeth and provide long-lasting results. While you may need a few touch-ups, practicing good oral hygiene will help to prolong the effects.

Choose Shores Family Dentistry For Teeth Whitening Services

Our experienced dental team can offer a variety of teeth-whitening supplies and techniques. And of course, regular cleanings will help keep your teeth looking whiter year-round. Whether you are looking for professional whitening strips or whitening trays, our Fort Collins dentists are ready to help!