When you smile at your reflection in the mirror, do you like what you see? Do you find yourself mentally tweaking your smile, wishing it were whiter, brighter, or straighter? Often, trauma to the mouth, years of a coffee habit, or even the aging process can change the look of your teeth. When your previously white teeth become dark or discolored, it can cause you to feel self-conscious about your smile.
Dark or stained teeth can be caused by dark foods and beverages. Coffee is a common culprit, but other items such as pasta sauce, red wine, chocolate, and tea can also cause your teeth to become discolored. In addition, habits such as smoking or using smokeless tobacco can give your teeth a yellow tint. Dr. France Chevalier offers the following tips for patients who want to know how they can keep their teeth white:
- Try to avoid food or beverages that can discolor your teeth. We know it's hard to kick that coffee habit, so if you can't eliminate the causes of discoloration completely, try to keep them from coming into contact with the front of your teeth by using a straw. When you do eat foods or drink beverages with a high tendency to cause discoloration, brush your teeth promptly afterwards or rinse with water or mouthwash.
- Keep your teeth healthy by brushing and flossing. The toothpaste aisle at your local drugstore is full of whitening toothpastes and strips. While these can be effective to a point, many patients are left disappointed with the results. Or even worse, they can cause tooth or gum sensitivity if not used properly.
- Stay current with your dental checkups. In addition to providing an opportunity for your dentist to discover potential trouble spots, you also receive a professional cleaning to remove plaque and bacteria from areas that regular at-home care simply can't reach.
- Consider professional teeth whitening options. Unfortunately, tooth discoloration can't be undone by brushing or avoiding certain foods and beverages. Dr. France Chevalier offers her patients at-home whitening trays to gradually and safely bring their teeth back to their former brightness and whiteness. With at-home whitening, patients receive customized trays and professional grade whitening gel to whiten their teeth from the comfort of their own home while doing other things such as reading, light exercise, or watching television. Once the right shade has been reached, simply discontinue use until you need a slight refresher to keep your smile looking its best.
If you wish to learn more about professional teeth whitening options, call Dr. Chevalier's office today.
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