A job interview, a family photo session, a first date, a speaking engagement—what do all of these events have in common?
They are yellow-teeth free zones.
Your smile is your first impression (and your lasting one when photographed). Having yellow teeth can make you hesitant to smile.
If you have yellow or yellowing teeth, you are certainly not alone. Few of us have naturally sparkling white teeth and teeth tend to yellow as you age. Common foods and beverages can cause yellowing, such as coffee, tea, and even certain fruits and vegetables like apples and potatoes.
Yellow teeth can also be caused by poor dental hygiene or disease treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. Certain antibiotics, when given to children before the age of eight, have been known to discolor the child’s still-developing teeth. Children who fall or have an accident that causes trauma to a baby tooth or teeth can see discoloration in their adult teeth. Genetics and environment also contribute to the yellowing of teeth.
With all of these factors at play, it is fair to say that if your teeth aren’t yellowing yet, they probably will. Despite this, it is still possible to return your slowly but surely yellowing grin to sparkling white, or at least a few shades lighter. Using at-home whitening remedies or professional treatments, you may be surprised by the whiteness potential your teeth truly have.
Teeth Whitening: At Home-Remedies
Aside from regular brushing and flossing, there are many at-home remedies you can try to whiten your teeth before turning to professional treatment. Some popular options include:
1. Baking soda and hyrdrogen peroxide
Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to create your own whitening toothpaste concoction.
2. Activated charcoal
You’ve maybe heard of activated charcoal used in face masks, but it can also be used to help whiten your teeth and get rid of bacteria. Proceed with caution. The verdict is still out on whether or not activated charcoal is too abrasive to the surface of the tooth.
3. Fruits and vegetables
Eating fruits and vegetables with a high water content can help keep your teeth free of plaque and bacteria—the biggest yellowing culprits. Try watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers and lettuce.
"If you’re annoyed by your slightly imperfect smile but feel major dental work like dental crowns, dental implants, and other surgical procedures aren’t necessary, tooth bonding might be your ideal solution."
--- DR. MAMALY RESHAD, DDS, MSc, PROSTHODONTIST
Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments
While at-home remedies are a good place to start, many people will need more than baking soda to get their teeth to the shade and brightness they want. If your teeth whitening toothpaste or whitening strips don’t seem to be doing the trick, consider some of the following professional treatments available from your dental professional:
1. Teeth whitening trays
These custom-molded trays filled with professional bleaching solutions can be very effective for teeth whitening. Wear them for a few hours a day, or overnight, for a set period of time determined by your dentist. The results are striking and long-lasting.
2. Dental bonding
A dental bonding technique uses malleable, tooth-colored resin that adheres to and molds seamlessly to your teeth. Often used to correct chips or cracks in the teeth, dental bonding can also be used to cover up stubborn stains.
3. Dental veneers (also referred to as Porcelain veneers)
Thin coverings made of porcelain, veneers are a premium cosmetic fix that can make any tooth whiter and smoother. Dental veneers are an excellent solution if teeth whitening treatments aren’t working on your teeth -- or you want to improve your smile.
Of course, the best way to have whiter teeth is to prevent discoloration in the first place. While many of the causes of yellow teeth are out of our control—genetics, trauma, disease—there are many others we can control. Daily brushing and flossing will get rid of bacteria and plaque build-up that causes discoloration. By maintaining a consistent dental hygiene routine at home, you greatly increase your chances of keeping your teeth as white as they can be.
If you’re interested in any of the treatments mentioned above, talk to your dentist about at-home remedies and professional treatments to decide what treatment plan is best for you and your soon-to-be pearly whites.