Cosmetic dentistry is more accessible than ever before, and many of us continue to favor the look of a sparkly white set of teeth. While some people have attempted purchasing at-home teeth whitening kits and toothpastes that promise to knock your teeth up a few shades, the truth is that nothing is more effective than professional whitening.
White strips, whitening toothpastes, whitening pens, and even at-home whitening devices are all the rage, and they’re a lot cheaper than professional service. But how effective are they, really, and when do you know when to stop? To answer that question, let’s first take a look at the problem you’re trying to solve.
What Makes Teeth White?
It helps to understand first the basic parts of the teeth to know why the teeth lose their whiteness. A tooth has three parts: pulp, dentin, and enamel. The pulp is found at the tooth’s center. It is where all the connective tissues are found. Above it is where the dentin is located. It supports the tooth’s structure and surrounds the dental pulp. It also reinforces the enamel, which is the tooth’s outer covering.
The enamel is considered the hardest tissue in a human body and is supposed to last for a long time. However, due to sugar and other chemical properties, this layer gets worn out over time. As a result, it gets thinner. That is when the darker and more yellow dentin gets revealed. In simple words, the stronger and thicker your enamel is, the whiter your teeth appear.
Why Do Teeth Start to Discolor?
Here is a breakdown of the primary causes of a teeth discoloration or the breaking of the tooth enamel:
- Age: The teeth’ enamel naturally gets thinner as the person ages because of various lifestyle factors.
- Food and Drink: Some food and drink contain properties that can stain teeth. Some of the most common ones are cola, tea, coffee, wine, tomato sauce, and berries.
- Smoking: Nicotine and tar easily get absorbed by the tiny “pores” of the teeth. When combined with oxygen, these elements make the teeth appear yellow or brown.
- Medication: In some cases, certain medications cause tooth discoloration. Antihistamines, antihypertensive, and antipsychotic medications are among the most common culprits.
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Not properly cleaning teeth is another reason to get them stained. When you fail to clean your teeth correctly, plaque and food stains build up on your teeth.
How White Should My Teeth Be?
While the media may portray perfectly shiny white teeth to the point of being blue-hued, excessive use of harmful at-home bleaching products can cause quite a bit of damage—particularly to the enamel. Remember that the enamel serves as the teeth’s protection against bacteria and decay. As the products further erode the teeth’s enamel, it leaves the person with a higher chance of getting cavities and tooth decay.
At-home products may help you whiten your teeth just a little bit, or they may simply act as placebos. But there’s one thing we know to be true: You shouldn’t be looking to replace professional cosmetic work with kits that could be doing damage.
The best way to determine how to whiten your teeth and how far to go without causing damage is to consult your dentist. While their services may cost more upfront, they’ll keep your health in mind and save you from dealing with dental problems (which are incredibly costly!) in the long run.
Nothing is wrong with wanting to have whiter teeth. Dental clinics wouldn’t offer such services if they were meant to harm those pearly whites. However, like any other thing, bleaching and whitening of teeth should have their limitations. Learn the pros and cons of your chosen whitening method and the causes of teeth discoloration. Finally, make sure to take your oral hygiene seriously.
If you want a sure and safe way to whiten the teeth, doing it with an expert would ensure that you do it right. Guttry Dental offers teeth whitening solutions in Longview, TX. Should you be interested in this cosmetic dentistry procedure, contact us at (903) 758-0189.