Many of our patients commonly ask us about fighting off stubborn tooth stains. Stain can tarnish a natural and beautiful smile. Luckily, dental cleanings can eliminate tenacious stains. But, there are also ways that you can tame stain accumulation by making a few adjustments in your daily routine.
The less often you need a professional dental cleaning for stain removal, the more money you save! Here’s how to do it…
Control Intake of Foods that Cause Tooth Stains
What foods stain teeth? Well, foods with lots of pigment do this by sinking into plaque and calculus on your teeth. As calculus absorbs pigments from food, it takes on different colours. Wine, Tea, Coffee and smoking are just a few things that can discolour your teeth.
Your teeth can also change in colour because of dentin exposure. Dentin is the yellow layer of tooth structure under enamel. If the enamel thins prematurely, your teeth start to look more and more yellow. Now, technically, this is not the same as staining but I thought I’d mention it here because it is a form of discolouration.
Foods that are high in acid (like citrus fruits, red wine and soda pop) erode your enamel over time, revealing more and more yellow dentin. To some extent, a thinning of enamel occurs as we age but a regular intake of highly acidic foods can really speed up this process.
Water Your Teeth!
Water can help to minimize tooth stains and acid erosion. Two ways you can do this:
- Use water to dilute acidic juices.
- Drink water at meals (red meat is acidic) and in between sips of red wine or coffee.
Water dilutes the beverages that cause acid erosion and staining. When you drink it, swish it around first before swallowing to provide a rinse for your teeth. This will reduce the contact time between food and drink pigments and your teeth.
Consider an Electric Toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes are superior to manual brushes for reducing tooth stain. The key is, retain a gentle approach and let the brush do the work. Avoid scrubbing your teeth as this can be an instinctual response to not getting your teeth completely stain-free. With the use of an electric brush you’ll remove more of the stain that builds up and slow down discolouration between dental cleanings!
(The Oral B electric toothbrushes with the rotating bristle heads work well for stain removal).
Limit Tartar Buildup, Limit Tooth Stains
Tartar is the calcified plaque that accumulates on your teeth between dental cleanings. It’s composed of carbohydrate, biofilm containing oral proteins, and bacteria. It’s irregular and porous so it readily absorbs pigment in foods and beverages. Tartar is like a hard sponge.
If you can brush for at least 3 minutes twice daily and floss twice daily, you’ll remove more plaque from your teeth and their will be less of the main ingredient for tartar formation. Stain builds to a lesser degree on smooth tooth enamel compared to tartar. So keeping tartar off your teeth means keeping your teeth stain-free!
Keep Your Teeth Cavity-Free!
Every time you develop a cavity, your Kitchener Dentist treats it with a Dental Filling. The “margin” or area where the filling meets your natural tooth degrades slowly over time and will accumulate stain. This is because it is an irregular surface and far less smooth than your natural enamel. Patients that have many dental fillings in their front teeth, tend to have orange, brown and sometimes black stains along the edges of fillings. It can be very frustrating to patients and dental cleanings can only reduce stain in these areas by so much.
Avoiding the need for dental fillings altogether saves you money and will limit irregular surfaces where stain can build up.
By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Dentist in Kitchener
Our Kitchener Dental Office is conveniently located in Downtown Kitchener and we are a short drive away for families in Waterloo, Breslau & St. Jacobs. Our central location means we truly offer family dentistry near you!
This article is meant to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.