Bright white teeth are the ultimate goal for people who want to have a beautiful smile. Natural teeth come in a wide range of varying shades of white. While you can’t help what color your teeth are when they come in, you do have options for maintaining their shade. There are many different things that cause teeth staining. Understanding why and how teeth get discolored helps you maintain a whiter smile.

What Causes Teeth Staining?

Tooth enamel is strong, but it is porous. Over time, color pigments from things that you put in your mouth get deposited in the enamel. Some people’s teeth are more porous than others. When you brush your teeth, you can remove some color pigments from the top of the enamel. However, stains that go deeper than the surface are hard to remove on your own.

Your lifestyle habits have a major impact on the color of your teeth. Smoking is known for leaving sticky yellow-brown residue on your teeth from the nicotine. Dark-colored beverages also cause teeth staining to occur. The food that you eat can leave stains behind.

Which Foods Cause the Worst Stains?

You can often look at a food and recognize if it might be likely to cause tooth discoloration. As a general rule, you’ll want to watch out for foods that are brightly colored. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are a few known stain-causing fruits. Fortunately, you don’t have to give up your favorite foods. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day can help remove food particles that cause stains.

Does Wearing Braces Cause Stains?

Some people dread the idea of wearing braces out of the fear that they cause stains. Braces don’t actually cause stains on their own. Instead, stains sometimes appear during orthodontic treatment due to poor oral hygiene. If you or your child wear braces, then make sure to brush your teeth regularly. You can also use special cleaning tools to remove food that gets trapped in the wires. After your braces are removed, teeth whitening Scottsdale dentists provide can remove any lingering discolorations.

Do You Have to Give Up Coffee and Tea for Whiter Teeth?

People with high aesthetic needs might want to limit their consumption of coffee and tea. However, most people don’t need to give up their favorite beverages completely. If you do enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea, make sure to rinse your mouth out with water afterwards.

Will Drinking Out of a Straw Help?

Using a straw can help to limit how much of a stain-causing beverage hits your teeth. As you drink, the straw pushes the liquid to the back of your mouth. This method isn’t perfect, but it can help to prevent stains within your smile zone.

Are All Stains Caused by Food and Drinks?

Teeth staining can also have other causes. For example, some people have deep discolorations that occurred when their teeth were first forming. Your teeth can also develop stains from injuries and decay.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Stains and Cavities?

Early tooth decay can often look a lot like stains. With both, you might see brown to black areas on your teeth. Trying to tell the difference can be impossible on your own. A cosmetic dentist will use strategies such as x-rays to identify the true cause of the discoloration.

Are Teeth Whitening Treatments Effective?

Teeth whitening treatments use special chemicals to break up stains. You’ll find teeth whitening treatments that range from toothpastes and mouth rinses to in-office procedures. Teeth whitening Scottsdale dentists use is designed to be safe for your teeth. You can also achieve noticeably whiter teeth in as little as one visit.

Are Some Stains Permanent?

There are some stains that might not respond to whitening treatments. Teeth staining can occur deep beneath the surface of your teeth. These stains are often caused by things such as ingesting too much fluoride at a young age. Some people also have areas with weak enamel that reveal the underlying dentin. Although this isn’t technically a stain, it can look like one.

Stains that exist deep within your teeth can still be treated. A cosmetic dentist can use veneers or dental bonding to cover up the discolorations. They can match the restoration materials to the color of the rest of your teeth to create a natural appearance for your smile.

How Do You Know Which Whitening Treatment is Best?

Your cosmetic dentist will assess your current tooth color and talk to you about your lifestyle. They’ll use this information to help you find the right teeth whitening treatment. In most cases, you’ll start with a dental cleaning followed by an in-office treatment. Your dentist may then recommend maintenance treatments that occur on a regular basis.

How Many Shades Whiter Can Your Teeth Get?

Teeth only need to be whitened by a few shades to achieve a noticeable difference. Professional whitening treatments can typically lift tooth color by up to eight shades. Keep in mind that this might not occur with just one treatment. You may need several treatments over time to get your teeth bright white.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

Teeth whitening isn’t a permanent procedure. You’ll need to make lifestyle changes to keep your teeth nice and white. If you smoke, your dentist may recommend trying to quit. You may also need to increase your personal hygiene care at home by making sure to brush after each meal. Flossing regularly removes food that causes stains between your teeth. Finally, you’ll want to schedule regular dental cleanings to help keep teeth staining down between whitening treatments.

Teeth stains typically start out slowly and get darker over time. Some yellowing of your teeth might be a natural part of aging. Yet, your teeth should never be so discolored that you feel embarrassed. Let your dentist know if you want whiter teeth. They’ll help you identify the best way to start loving your smile.