With the holidays right around the corner, families and friends will be gathering to celebrate and many pictures will be taken. This can make many people self-conscious, because they may have stained or yellowed teeth. Don’t be one of these people, hiding in the background of photos or just not smiling. If you want a whiter and brighter smile, call our Fort Worth dental office at (817) 737-6601 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Nikki Green or Dr. Robert Leedy to discuss teeth whitening. They will have you clamoring to be front and center when the cameras come out!
Causes of Tooth Stains
There are many things that can cause your teeth to be stained. A lot of them are foods and beverages that we typically indulge in around the holidays, but some stains are caused by lifestyle decisions as well. The following are just a few possible causes of stained teeth:
- Tobacco use – One of the biggest contributors to stained teeth is tobacco. Tobacco contains tar, which is naturally dark in color, and nicotine, which is naturally colorless, but turns yellow when mixed with oxygen. Smoking or using any tobacco product, even for a very short time, will lead to yellow, stained teeth.
- Wine – You might think only dark red wines cause stains on your teeth, but this is incorrect. Red wines do account for more stains, because they contain chromogens and tannins, which are acidic and stain easily. White wines, however, have been shown to contribute to staining as well. Studies show that teeth that have been exposed to white wine are likely to stain more severely when drinking tea or other dark beverages after.
- Tea and Coffee – Tea and coffee both have tannins, which stain teeth. Some studies have shown that black tea may actually stain even worse than coffee. It is important to note that white, green and herbal teas do not contribute to the staining of teeth.
- Cola – Colas are rich in chromogens and are very acidic. Even light colored colas are still acidic and promote staining by other foods and beverages.
- Berries – That holiday favorite, cranberries, along with other dark colored berries can cause stains from their dark skins.
- Sauces – Any sauce with a deep color, such as soy sauce or tomato sauce can contribute to stains.
- Sweets – While not a big contributor unless eaten on a regular basis, sweets can lead to stained teeth. Hard candies and gum may contain coloring agents that stain teeth. A good rule of thumb is that if it turns your tongue colors, it probably stains your teeth.
- Antibiotics – Some antibiotics, such as tetracycline can cause teeth to be stained, especially when taken as a child
- Fluorosis – Fluorosis is caused by overexposure to fluoride as a child. While fluoride is important to your dental health, it should be limited for children. Until the age of seven or eight, no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste should be used when brushing, and special non-fluoride toothpaste is made for children under three years old.
Tips to Avoid Stains
There are some things you can do to avoid dental stains. While it may seem strange with wine or coffee, drinking through a straw is a good defense against stains caused by colas or iced tea. Drinking through a straw minimizes the contact staining beverages have with your teeth. Chewing and swallowing your food quickly helps. This doesn’t mean you should race through your dinner, just don’t hold food in your mouth to savor the taste. Swish your mouth with water after eating, especially when eating foods that stain. Chewing sugarless gum is a great option, because it stimulates saliva production, which washes away bacteria and staining particles. It is also important to note that you should wait about 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after a meal, as food and beverages that are acidic leave the enamel of your teeth vulnerable to abrasion.
Dr. Green and Dr. Leedy offer Zoom! Whitening in our Fort Worth dental office. The Zoom! treatment involves the application of a gentle, yet effective carbamide peroxide gel to your teeth. The treatment can be done in our office or at home. The office treatment takes about 45 minutes and provides the best results. Take home whitening kits use a gel that is not quite a strong, and it may take up to two weeks to see optimal results. The gel is applied using custom made trays, and comes in three flavors: regular, mint, or melon. After office treatment, the doctors will provide you with at-home maintenance, consisting of take-home touch up trays or a whitening pen to keep your smile dazzlingly white.
Call Now for a Consultation
Don’t be left in the background of those holiday photos. Call our Fort Worth dental office today at (817) 737-6601 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Green or Dr. Leedy, and you will live your dream of a white (teeth) Christmas!