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Bright Smile


A bright smile opens many doors, but it is sometimes not easy to maintain. Teeth change their color over time and torn from bright white to less spectacular shades of yellow, gray or even brown. Many factors contribute to tooth stains, the most common of them being cigarettes, coffee and tea. There are also other factors that contribute to changes in the color of tooth enamel. Fortunately, there are ways to reverse their effect and to be able once again to show off that bright smile.

Causes of Tooth Stains

Certain medications, like the over-the-counter drugs and antibiotics, can change the color and the shade of the teeth. For example, tetracycline antibiotics can make the children’s teeth yellowish, and minocycline sometimes causes permanent gray and blue stains in adults. Some antihistamines are also known for discoloring effect they have on teeth.

Fluoride is very important for healthy teeth and today almost all toothpastes contain it. In many countries fluoride is even added to tap water in order to prevent tooth decay. However, excessive use of fluoride can cause chalky white stains on the teeth. it is wise to check with local authorities exactly how high is the fluoride concentration in tap water and to limit its use, or the use of fluoride toothpastes, if necessary.

Unfortunately, even for persons who take extra care of the brightness of their teeth, they will not stay paper-white forever. This is because white is the color of the tooth enamel which is thin and wears off with time, showing the yellow of brown shades of dentin layer that lies beneath. Some people are lucky and have thicker enamel so their teeth stay whiter for a longer period.

Some dental procedures, like root canal, can cause damage that, as consequence, causes tooth discoloration.

Foods and beverages also play an important role. Some of them seem to stain more than others, like coffee, tea, even beer. If this poses a problem, it is recommended to sip those drinks through a straw. As for the foods, cherries, blackberries, blueberries and soy sauce can cause stains too.

Other factors include poor hygienic habits, like improper, irregular or excessive brushing or tooth trauma.

Remedies and prevention

The first thing to do in order to prevent further discoloration is to avoid stainers like coffee, cigarettes and colored foods.

Whitening toothpaste, tooth polish or whitening strips can help but one should not expect miracles from them. Baking soda with peroxide can also help, but it should not be used excessively.

Brushing after every meal is obligatory and it will help prevent stains or reduce the ones that are already there.

Mouthwashes that contain an antibacterial agent can be particularly helpful, because they wash away the bacterial plaque that may cause stains.

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