Many different factors contribute to the color of your teeth, including age, hygiene, lifestyle habits, genetics and disease. Because many people are very self conscious of their smile and because tooth decay becomes more of a problem as you age, millions of people are trying to find ways to get their teeth looking their whitest. However you decide to whiten your teeth, how often you do it will help you get the most out of the treatment without hurting your teeth.
Patients in Washington, DC or Gaithersburg, Maryland looking for teeth whitening treatments need not look further. Dr. Akram Shouhayib and the team of dentists at K Street Dental have decades of experience helping people with their oral care.
What causes tooth discoloration?
Discolored teeth aren’t always a sign of bad health or hygiene, though they can be a sign of either. A variety of other things contribute to the color of your teeth, including:
- Diet: anything that passes through your mouth can affect the color of your teeth, especially coffee, tea, soda, and wines.
- Tobacco use: whether you smoke or chew tobacco, it’s very likely to stain your teeth.
- Medications: antibiotics, antihistamines, and some mouthwashes and rinses can stain your teeth.
- Trauma: an injury that causes decreased blood flow or nerve damage can also stain teeth.
The aging process also causes enamel to wear away over time, revealing the yellow dentin underneath.
How does tooth whitening help?
Teeth whitening is a safe way to reduce discoloration that can be achieved with many different methods. Whitening strips, gels, toothpaste and home kits are available, but for best and longest lasting results a dentist can whiten your teeth in about an hour. Either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide are contained in all professional whitening treatments, and many treatments use light to activate the peroxide. Because dentists use stronger concentrations of peroxide in their treatments, a few visits can be a lot more effective than home products.
How often should you have it done?
Once you’ve had a treatment and have that winning smile, you should only need to whiten them every six months. No treatment is permanent, and your eating and drinking habits will affect how long it will last. Avoid things like coffee, tea, black grapes, and candies for at least a day after treatment is done. Regular brushing and rinsing can help to keep food, and other things from staining your teeth between treatments by decreasing the plaque buildup. If you have active cavities or other dental work being done you should avoid whitening your teeth until either or both have been taken care of.
If discolored teeth are keeping you from flashing your winning smile, make an appointment with Dr. Shouhayib and the team at K Street Dental today.