The most important thing when it comes to your teeth is taking care of your overall oral health. Brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups are all essential parts of caring for your teeth and gums, and they help you maintain a healthy mouth.
But many people are concerned with more than just health — the cosmetic side can be cause for concern, too. The way your teeth look has a big impact on your confidence and makes social interactions difficult for some people. Despite having strong teeth in good condition, you can experience a big impact your emotional wellbeing if your teeth aren't as white as you'd like them to be.
If you dream of a bright Hollywood smile, there could be some things in your life that are stopping you from achieving one. Here are some of the common causes of discoloured teeth.
1. Foods That Stain
Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest causes of off-white teeth is consuming food and drink that stains the enamel. The list of things that can stain is large, but you don't have to avoid them all entirely. Just cutting down can help quite a bit.
Some of the worst culprits are tea, coffee and wine, partly due to the high levels of tannins these drinks contain. Beware also of dark berries, chocolate, spicy sauces and even apples, which can all leave stains on your teeth.
Smoking tobacco is bad for your oral health overall, but it also leaves stains on your teeth and can cause significant discolouration. Nicotine and other substances in tobacco smoke will cling to the enamel and give it a yellow to brown tinge, so think about reducing or quitting the smokes if you want bright white teeth.
If you're struggling to quit, switching to a firmer toothbrush can help keep stains at bay, but you'll need to be gentle with it to avoid damaging your tooth enamel.
3. Swimming Pool Water
Pools use a mix of chemicals in their water to keep it clean and sanitary. While these chemicals are tested to make sure they're safe for humans to swim in, they can leave deposits on your teeth that build up and cause them to discolour.
Swimming is a good way to keep fit, so don't stop going. Just consider taking a toothbrush with you for a quick clean after your pool session.
4. Acidic Substances
Staining is the most obvious way teeth can become discoloured, but it's not the only one. Underneath the enamel of your teeth is a layer of a substance called dentin. Dentin is yellow in appearance, but it can't usually be seen very much through the enamel. When enamel becomes weakened or damaged, however, the yellow dentin starts to show through more.
Enamel erosion sometimes happens as people age, simply due to years of eating and drinking. Too much acid, however, and the process can speed up significantly. If your teeth are sensitive as well as discoloured, this could be why.
White wine has a fairly high acid content, so it's not just red wine that can make your teeth less white. Lots of different fruits are also acidic, as is anything containing vinegar. Watch out for those sweets, too – not only will the sugar contribute to enamel erosion, but there’s also often a surprising amount of acid in there.
Don't rush to brush your teeth right after eating anything acidic, though – this can damage the enamel more while it's weakened, so wait at least 30 minutes.
Not everyone drinks enough water, and if you don't drink as much as you should, it could be affecting the colour of your teeth.
Drinking water with meals helps wash away any food that contributes to staining and acid erosion, so it prevents yellowing after you eat. Also, staying hydrated keeps saliva production up, which neutralises acid in your mouth and protects your enamel.
If your teeth aren't as white as they could be, or if there are other things you'd like to improve about your teeth, contact us for an appointment so we can get started towards giving you a smile to be proud of.