A beautiful, bright off-the-runway smile has a way of changing how you feel about yourself and the world around you. A dazzling smile is a definite confidence booster, making you feel like you can accomplish anything.
But then life happens. What was once a flawlessly bright smile starts to dull and may even appear yellowish.
Well, what do you expect? It’s not like you can retain that clean, healthy and bright smile — that amazing look and feel you get when you leave your professional cleaning appointment. Or can you?
Here, Dr. Meriem Boukadoum at 54th Street Dental shares five tips for keeping your teeth white.
Let’s start with why teeth can turn dull and discolored. Two factors come into play: form and function. Among the several layers of your teeth, you’re probably most familiar with the hard, outer layer called enamel.
Enamel’s tough shell acts like a protective shield for the inside layers, keeping out the bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.
From an aesthetic point, enamel is responsible for that luminous, “pearly white” glow. As enamel becomes worn and thins out, the inner layer of your tooth, called dentin, shows through.
The dull, darker or yellow color that you notice when your teeth begin to lose their luminous, bright quality is actually dentin’s natural color, which ranges from a deep yellow to brownish color.
While you can’t stop natural aging and wear and tear, you can do plenty of things to keep your teeth white. A great place to start is to practice a strong at-home hygiene routine. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily.
Your daily hygiene routine not only helps keep your teeth healthy and white, but also staves off cavities and gum disease.
You may think that eating a healthy, balanced diet is only important to stay at a healthy weight, but it’s just as important for maintaining bright, healthy teeth.
Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit. Ditch those sugary and acidic foods and cut back on stain-causing foods and beverages such as tomato sauce, starchy foods, berries, colas, wine, coffee, and tea.
Here’s another tip for maintaining white teeth that also brings your overall health up a notch. Whether you’re a smoker or use smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco or snuff, your enamel takes a beating with staining, but that’s just the beginning.
Did you know that smokeless tobacco contains sugar as well as sand and grit? The sand and grit can wear down your enamel, while the sugar places chewing tobacco users at a much higher risk for tooth decay.
In fact, chewing tobacco users are four times more likely to develop tooth decay than the general population. Kick all tobacco products to the curb. We know it’s not easy, but your brighter teeth and overall health improvements will be well worth it.
Even if you’re the most diligent brusher and flosser, you’re not going to be able to remove some stains and plaque through at-home care. Visit your dental provider for routine checkups and professional cleanings. Not only will you keep those pearly whites dazzling, but also preserve your gums and overall oral health.
Sometimes a special occasion like a wedding or reunion, where you know people will be taking lots of pictures, inspires you to consider teeth whitening. But you don’t really need a special occasion to want to look your best.
Teeth whitening offers a great opportunity to turn up the brightness. Here at 54th Street Dental, we offer custom take-home whitening kits for the DIY patient. For patients who instead prefer to sit back while we do all the work, we provide in-office chairside whitening using the Philips Zoom! whitening system.
Both options can do the job. Which one you go with mostly depends on your whitening goals.
Typically we meet with a patient for an initial consultation. After conducting a comprehensive exam, discussing your whitening goals, and reviewing your medical history, we create a customized treatment plan to provide the optimal desired outcome.
If your teeth are becoming dull and discolored and you want to learn more about teeth whitening, call 54th Street Dental today to schedule an appointment. To reach us, use the online booking tool or call our office in the Midtown West neighborhood of New York City at 212-333-3200.