BlueberriesThere are a number of causes for stained teeth, and at least as many remedies for brightening them. A good rule to remember for food stained teeth is that anything that will leave a stain on a white tee shirt will also stain your teeth. This means that some perfectly healthy foods will discolor teeth, such as blueberries, black berries and beets. Dark sodas, coffee, tea and fruit drinks are also culprits. These particular teeth stains develop slowly and become more noticeable as we age.

Does this mean you should avoid these foods all together? Not necessarily! You should still eat them, but to avoid stains, brush your teeth immediately afterward and rinse your mouth with water.

Preventing Teeth Stains

As we grow older, the enamel on our teeth begins wearing away. This is why it’s important to avoid stains to begin with. The underlying layer that begins to show, called dentin, has a more yellowish color than enamel. It is also not as effective to bleach as the outer enamel. Whitening your teeth once the dentin starts showing through, will often give them a bluish, translucent look. If you take care with the teeth staining foods you eat and beverages you drink, a single trip to your dentist for whitening can last up to a year.

Dental whitening is usually done by bleaching whether in office or at home. Please note that if you have crowns, fillings and bridges, these will not whiten with a bleach treatment. In order to match your newly whitened teeth, you might wish to consider new dental work, including veneers or bonding.

Drug Store Remedies

Over the counter whitening toothpastes, gels and liquids are great at removing some surface stains. Many of these products contain mild abrasives, chemicals and or polishing agents. Unlike bleaching, they do not change the color of your teeth so in order to retain effectiveness they must be used regularly.

Tooth whitening strips are also very effective. The strips are very thin, practically invisible, and are coated with a peroxide based whitening gel.

Homemade Remedies

Some people feel more comfortable with homemade or natural remedies than typical drug store products. Baking soda is a favorite among the naturalist crowd. Just dip your toothbrush in a new box of baking soda, and scrub lightly, being sure to get between the teeth where tartar builds, and around the gums. There are also some toothpastes that contain baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.

Another natural tooth whitener is strawberry. While it has not shown much effectiveness, mash the strawberries and use them as a paste. Since strawberries contain fructose; a form of sugar; be sure to brush your teeth with toothpaste afterward. Other foods that naturally whiten teeth are apples, celery, pears and carrots. They also trigger saliva, which helps wash away the debris on your teeth.

The drug store and homemade remedies are again good for surface staining. If you have tried these products with no effect or if you have any questions regarding stains contact our office today!