How to keep your teeth whiter

Thanks to celebrities and the beauty industry, the popularity of sporting a gleaming white smile has sky-rocketed.

The truth is, your teeth don't need to be Dulux-white to be healthy. But whiter teeth do tend to go hand in hand with good oral health.

While teeth whitening treatments can be effective for lifting stains, understanding what makes your teeth darken in the first place can help your smile to stay naturally whiter and healthier for longer.

Why do teeth lose their whiteness?

Some people naturally have whiter teeth than others. Even if you take great care of your oral hygiene – brushing and flossing every day, and watching what you eat and drink – your teeth may still darken over time due to ageing, accidental injuries and other factors beyond your control.

For the most part though, teeth stains can be avoided. Some of the most common culprits are:

  • Strongly pigmented food and drinks, such as tea and coffee, red wine, beetroot and blueberries.
  • Acidic food and drinks, such as soft drinks and fruit juices, may also play a part. These can dissolve the enamel surface of your teeth making them more prone to staining.
  • Tobacco also leaves stains on the teeth, if you needed another good reason to quit smoking.
  • Certain medications, such as antibiotics, may also cause your teeth to become discoloured. Especially if you took them during childhood when your permanent teeth were still forming.

How can I prevent my teeth from staining?

If you don't want to cut out teeth-staining food and drinks completely, you can help to reduce their effects by rinsing your mouth afterwards. Drinking through a straw can also reduce contact between the liquid and your front teeth.

The best way to keep your teeth (and gums) in tip top condition is to follow good oral hygiene. This means brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once daily to prevent plaque from forming on your teeth. You should also visit your dentist every six months for a full check-up.

How can I whiten my teeth?

If your teeth are already stained or discoloured and you want to brighten their appearance, you should talk to your dentist to find out how they can help you.

Professional teeth whitening treatments are tailored by your dentist to your individual needs and often contain stronger concentrations of bleach. This means they can deliver longer-lasting and more even results than an over-the-counter whitening product. Whitening your teeth by a professional also means less risk is involved.

Your dentist may offer in-chair whitening at the clinic or provide you with a professional take-home whitening kit. This kit will include a whitening solution and a tray that moulds to your teeth. The whitening tray can be worn in daily sessions until your teeth reach their desired level of whiteness – usually around two weeks.

Teeth whitening isn't a permanent treatment, so help your teeth to stay whiter for longer by practising good oral hygiene and avoiding common sources of stains. You might also find whitening toothpaste helpful for removing surface stains and maintaining your smile, although this should only used to supplement your normal fluoride toothpaste, not as a replacement. Ask Ocean Reef Dental for a recommendation on a suitable toothpaste for your needs.

Where can I find out more?

If you're thinking about teeth whitening in Perth's Northern Suburbs, talk to our friendly team at Ocean Reef Dental Surgery.

We'll let you know what options we offer at our dental clinic, and can arrange your appointment at a time that's good for you.

Call us on (08) 9307 6700 or send us an enquiry online.