Teeth whitening is one of the most common procedures people get these days. It is a multibillion-dollar industry that is no longer just for those with a lot of profit. The increase in popularity as well as the growth of at-home teeth whitening kits have made the procedure more accessible to everyone.
Dentists have also come to realize how important it is for mental and overall health for people to be proud of their smile and not stress over stains and imperfections in their teeth. Unfortunately, while people are more and more focused on teeth whitening and making sure they have bright, white smiles, they don’t always know the causes of stains and how to prevent them in the future.
Understanding how teeth get stained in the first place and learning about our diet in the modern world can help you keep your teeth white while also preventing the more dangerous oral health issues such as cavities, infections and general damage.
Our teeth have an outer layer that exists to protect it from damage and bacteria. This layer, called enamel, is the reason why people don’t have more cavities or lose their teeth more often. It protects teeth from acids, abrasion and major differences in temperature.
Unfortunately, human evolution hasn’t caught up to the fact that our diet is now full of more sugar than ever with people consuming sugar in previously unknown quantities. This can come from sweets but also from corn syrup and other additives that can contribute to poor oral health. Sugars cause an increased build up of bacteria that leads to cavities.
One of the other common side effects of this diet is the increased staining in teeth. While these stains are typically on the outside of teeth on the enamel, they are not always removed by diligent brushing and flossing. Therefore, the peroxide based whitening kits are successful as they attack these stains and whiten teeth.
Where Stains Come From
There are two main causes for tooth stains in most people with some other minor causes that also contribute. The first and biggest source is food. Here is a list of the most common foods that stain teeth when consumed in high quantities:
- Dark Sodas
- Dark fruits and vegetables
The second biggest factor is age. Unfortunately, the enamel that protects your teeth also yellows as you age. Since this staining is intrinsic to the enamel, it is harder to remove.
Additionally, there are some smaller factors that can affect the whiteness of teeth such as certain medications that can discolor teeth and some diseases that affect the growth of enamel. While these are not going to affect most of the population, they are still important to know.
Teeth Whitening at Home and at the Dentist
There are two main options when it comes to teeth whitening. The first method is the use of at home kits. These kits are both the easiest and cheapest ways to whiten teeth. The kits contain a small amount of peroxide that is used to whiten teeth and you can apply them to your teeth in the comfort of your own home and bathroom. Unfortunately, the trade off is that these kits are not as effective at teeth whitening as the professional kits.
This is because the hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous in higher quantities and unqualified users can misuse the chemicals. Misuse of the peroxide or overexposure can cause damage to teeth and gums. Therefore, the most effective teeth whitening is done at the dentist’s office where your dental professional can whiten your teeth with peroxide while making sure not to damage your gums.
What to Do if You Want to Get Your Teeth Whitened?
Nowadays, there are even many hybrid whitening kits where your dentist starts the process and then gives you a better kit than you can buy at the store to finish in the comfort of your own home. If you want to talk to a dental professional about getting your teeth whitened or have questions about stains on your teeth, contact us today at Hassey Dental. Our expert staff can answer your questions about food and drink and start the teeth whitening process.