What You Should Know About Teeth Whitening

When it comes to social interaction, your smile can play a big role in how you are perceived by others. A genuine, inviting smile can help set people at ease when interacting with them. However, it can be difficult to smile big if you are not completely happy with the color of your teeth.

Luckily, getting your teeth whitened is an easy way to improve your smile. Here are a few things you should know about teeth whitening.

How Aging Affects Your Teeth

Knowing why teeth become discolored is the first step toward getting whiter teeth. As you age, you may notice that your teeth aren't as bright as they were before—even if your dental habits haven't changed.

As we age, tooth enamel begins to wear away. As the outer layer of enamel wears off, the dentin underneath becomes more and more exposed. Dentin is yellow in color and that’s why teeth begin to appear more yellow.

What Causes Discoloration

In addition to aging, there are other causes of discoloration. Certain medications, such as tetracycline, can stain teeth. Too much fluoride, either in the water or from overuse of rinses and toothpaste, can also lead to discoloration. Trauma to your teeth can damage enamel and cause discoloration as a result. Genetics also play a large role in the color of your teeth. Some people are born with thicker enamel that is naturally whiter in color.

Your habits can also play a big role in the shade of your teeth. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea and wine, as well as using tobacco are all things that can make your pearly whites more yellow than white. Avoiding these things or cutting back can keep your smile looking bright.

Why Dental Hygiene is Essential

Not only does good oral hygiene keep your mouth healthy, it can keep your teeth looking brighter as well. Daily brushing, flossing and use of mouthwash are key to keeping your teeth as white as possible. This daily upkeep can go a long way toward preventing staining. However, good habits may not get your smile as white as you would like. This is where teeth whitening can help.

How to Get Whiter Teeth

When it comes to getting whiter teeth, a trip to the dentist is a must. Surface stains, the kind you get from coffee, wine and tobacco, are referred to as extrinsic stains. Extrinsic staining can often be easily removed during teeth cleaning. Regular dental cleanings can make your teeth whiter by removing these stains. Whitening toothpaste also works to remove these surface stains.

Not all staining is on the surface of the teeth, and professional cleaning will not address deeper stains. For deeper intrinsic staining, bleaching products may be needed to lighten your teeth to the desired shade. Teeth whitening products that contain bleach can be found over the counter and at the dentist's office. These products use carbamide peroxide to whiten teeth to the desired level and are often applied to the teeth with trays.

While over-the-counter products can be effective, bleaching treatments done in the dentist's office tend to last longer and can give you whiter teeth. For teeth that are severely stained, bleaching your teeth may not be enough. If that is the case, veneers may need to be applied in order to get the white smile you desire. 

If you feel like your smile is not as white as you would like it to be, a trip to the dentist can help you come up with a solution. Burgess Dental can help you determine which teeth whitening method will work best for your smile.