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Stains and discolouration of teeth are a common problem affecting more men than women; there are people with naturally yellow or grey teeth, but this does not mean they have dental problems.
There are two types of staining that include intrinsic and extrinsic staining of the tooth’s surface. While intrinsic refers to stains within the tooth’s structure; extrinsic refers to stains that form on the outside surface of the teeth.
Intrinsic stains are generally caused by fluoride in toothpaste that causes brown stains and/ or white flecks; tetracycline antibiotic for children can cause brown and grey stains on teeth; aging causes brownish stains as the enamel cover on the teeth wears off.
Extrinsic stains are generally caused by certain foods and drinks such as caffeine, tea, colas, red wine, berries, fried foods and curries; certain antibiotics; iron tablets; mouthwash having antibacterial chlorhexidine.
People can sometimes develop what are called combination stains due to smoking and tooth decay, which leads to both intrinsic and extrinsic staining.
Discolouration is not exactly the same as staining; it occurs when the nerve dies and bleeds into the tooth’s root canal; erosion of the tooth; tooth fillings bleeding inside the teeth.
Most people are concerned about their smile because all too often first impressions count in a big way.
When teeth are stained or discoloured, it can be embarrassing to smile in public. Failure to smile may be misconstrued as a proud or haughty demeanour.
Anyone with stained teeth can easily have their teeth whitened in a number of ways, from professional teeth whitening techniques to home remedies that work. There are also a number of teeth whitening products available in pharmacies for over the counter purchase.
With the large number of options available for teeth whitening, anyone dreaming of perfect white teeth, need no longer dream.
Perfect teeth can easily become a reality because teeth whitening techniques are more accessible than ever.
An appointment with the dentist and it is goodbye to most surface stains through a process that cleans the teeth. The dentist needs to decide whether you are the ideal candidate for teeth whitening.
Not everyone, however, will qualify for teeth whitening procedures; there are certain circumstances that may prevent the use of teeth whitening products and techniques.
• Restored teeth having veneers and white fillings cannot be whitened beyond the original colour used in making them. Hydrogen and carbamide peroxide do not work on veneers and white fillings. The only way to whiten teeth is to replace discoloured restorations.
• Root canal treated teeth and teeth with internal stains cannot be whitened in the normal way. Permanent restorations are an option to solve the problem.
• Natural teeth in grey or brown colour cannot be whitened beyond the natural colouration of the teeth.
• Hypersensitive teeth should not be put under the whitening process due to the level of sensitivity that can be increased.
• Teeth whitening procedures are not recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers.
8 Tips to Get Whiter Teeth
1. Dental Bleaching
This is one of the more common methods of teeth whitening in cosmetic dentistry.
Teeth generally start out white in childhood and, over the years, take on a darker color. Of course; certain foods, drinks, tobacco and medication can cause discolouration and staining of the teeth as well.
Gel bleaching can be either high concentration or low concentration gel bleaching with the former being the more effective method. It is possible to have the teeth bleach in the dentist’s office or perform the procedure at home.
High concentration carbamide peroxide is used to whiten teeth and can be bought in dental stores or online. This is obviously a much cheaper option to having the procedure done in the dentist’s office.
The whitening agent is applied to the teeth with the help of a thin plastic tray – one for the upper row and one for the lower row of teeth. The trays stay on for about 20 minutes, but should be well fitted to retain the gel.
In the dentist’s office, a layer to protect against burning is painted onto the gums and gum tips. Then carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide is applied to the teeth to whiten them.
2. Laser Teeth Whitening
Laser whitening is performed at the dentist’s office using a light activated gel that bleaches the teeth, whitening them in the process.
This procedure will take approximately 2 hours and results are for the most part immediate. Dentists recommend that laser whitening is followed up with a professional home whitening procedure to maintain the results.
The process involves a thorough cleaning of the teeth to remove stains and tartar; a procedure that is termed scaling and polishing.
A tooth colored record is made either with a digital picture of the teeth or a shade guide chart. The bleaching agent is made up of peroxide in high concentration and is applied to the teeth to harden.
Then, a laser light is turned on the teeth. The process is repeated three times in total before the gel is removed and the dramatically whitened teeth can be viewed.
3. Professional Teeth Whitening Kits
Dentists provide professional teeth whitening kits for home use.
A mould is first made from the impressions taken of the teeth. The mould is made with special putty that dentists use.
Once the mould is ready, the dentist or a technician casts the model of the teeth in plaster. The next step is to prepare custom made trays to fit the teeth perfectly.
The whitening gel is put into the trays and fitted to the teeth for an hour or so daily. Some professional teeth whitening kits need to be fixed onto the teeth overnight. If it is a daily procedure, it generally needs to be carried out for a week or even two weeks.
4. Enlighten Deep Bleaching
This is a professional procedure to whiten teeth and involves making an impression of the teeth followed by the preparation of custom made trays.
A gentle whitening gel is to be placed in the trays and worn for 14 nights in a row. Once the period is over a visit to the dentist will be required for the deep bleaching treatment procedure to be performed. This procedure can lighten teeth by 16 shades depending on the condition of the teeth.
The treatment needs to be maintained by wearing the trays once a week at night for a period of eight weeks. This method has a success rate of 95 per cent. The results can be permanent, provided the procedure is carried out correctly.
5. Food and Drink to Avoid
There are certain foods and drinks that can stain the teeth, leave sugars and acids behind that decay teeth and cause a lot of dental problems.
Avoid excessive consumption of colas, tea, coffee, tomato sauce, cranberry juice, red wine, popsicles, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, curry, beets and blueberries. After consuming these foods, the teeth need to be brushed.
6. Good Habits for Dental Hygiene
Discoloration and staining of teeth happens primarily because teeth are not properly cared for.
Maintaining good daily habits can help to reverse the staining damage in conjunction with a general scaling and polishing session at the dentist’s office.
• Teeth need to be brushed twice daily with a good quality whitening toothpaste to prevent food stains from taking root.
• Regular flossing helps to prevent tooth decay.
• Rinsing of the mouth after every meal is essential.
7. Natural Home Remedies
By using some simple natural ingredients, it is possible to prepare teeth whitening remedies that actually work.
Some of these preparations include:
• Baking soda and salt make a natural teeth whitening agent; baking soda can help remove stains, get rid of plaque and limit the amount of damage acid causes to the teeth.
• Baking soda, table salt and hydrogen peroxide mixed together makes a good teeth whitening toothpaste that can be used for cleaning the teeth.
• Natural herbs like margosa, babul, banyan root and holy basil can be rubbed against the teeth to whiten them.
8. Eating Right
There are several crispy fruits and vegetables that help to whiten teeth due to a natural abrasiveness that removes stains from teeth.
Consider fruits and vegetables such as celery, apples and carrots as natural toothbrushes to whiten teeth. Whitening teeth in this way will not damage the enamel and will provide nutrients for the body imperative to maintain better health.
Another belief is that eating tart oranges and pineapples helps to produce a greater amount of saliva in the mouth. The saliva is a natural element that washes teeth clean, but don’t put lemon juices directly on teeth as the acidity it contains can damage the enamel.
A few other tips to get whiter teeth and keep them away include: rubbing the inside of a banana peel over teeth; chewing gum; quit smoking; stop drinking red wine and other alcoholic beverages; chewing parsley leaves; drink water rather than sodas for whiter healthier teeth.
There is a common belief that the enzyme malic acid in strawberries helps to whiten teeth. Mashed up strawberries needs to be rubbed on the teeth, left for five minutes and then rinsed off with cold water, followed by a flossing routine.
Health by choice, not by chance.