Even before they meet you, people likely notice your smile. A great smile can give you confidence, show the world that you’re friendly and welcoming, and change the way that you interact with people. So, what happens if your teeth begin to look less white and your smile is no longer your best feature?
Dr. Stephen Hiroshige and his staff have heard lots of worries from people who have noticed their teeth aren’t as white as they once were. We can help! But it’s also useful to understand some of the reasons that your teeth may not be as luminous and bright as they used to be, since some things you do may affect the whiteness of your teeth.
The first thing to understand about why your teeth are not as white is enamel. Harder than bone, the coating on your teeth is the hardest substance in your entire body. Enamel reflects the light, giving your teeth sparkle; it also gives your teeth a white appearance.
Some people are born with thicker, whiter enamel than others, so to some degree, how white your teeth are has to do with your genes. Over time, your enamel wears thin, so if you have thicker enamel, that process takes longer.
As your enamel thins, the dentin, or tissue beneath the enamel, can begin to show through. Dentin tends to be yellow or gray in color, which makes your teeth look less white. Imagine a very thin white curtain hanging over a yellow or gray curtain with the sun shining behind them.
One of the most common reasons teeth don’t look as white comes down to age. However, whitening treatments can help, or if you want a more permanent solution, veneers may be a good choice for you.
So many different things can stain your teeth: tobacco, coffee, red wine, tomato sauce, dark-colored berries, and many other foods and beverages. There are a few ways to handle this type of staining.
You can avoid the problem by avoiding the staining substances. Quit smoking. Drink coffee or wine through a straw to limit the liquid’s contact with your teeth. You can brush immediately after consuming a potentially staining substance.
One good reason to schedule regular dentist visits is that part of what we do during a cleaning is remove stains. If you’re coming in for a couple of cleanings every year, we can remove most of the stains from normal eating and drinking.
And, of course, during your regular visits, we make sure you don’t have any signs of decay or other problems. White, sparkling teeth are nice, but healthy teeth allow you to speak, chew, and have healthy bone structure.
If you’d like to know more about why your teeth are losing their whiteness, and whether or not there’s anything you can do about it, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hiroshige. He’s happy to answer your questions and suggest the best approach for you to have sparkling white teeth again.