The simple act of smiling is enough to increase your mood, and it’s also the first thing that others notice about you. However, smiling may not bring joy to everyone if they’re not happy with the way their teeth look. Among all of the things that can make a smile “imperfect”, having stained teeth seems to be something that a lot of people deal with. Here are three things that you can do to whiten and brighten your smile.
#1: Avoid Bad Habits/Pick Up Good Habits
Make it a Priority to Quit Smoking
Several things can cause your teeth to turn yellow, and smoking cigarettes is one of them. Many people are aware of how smoking causes lung and heart problems, but it can also stain your teeth— and lead to oral cancer. So if you’re a smoker, this is just one more reason to drop this bad habit.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
At the same time, poor brushing habits can also lead to yellow-looking teeth. Brushing just once a day or skipping a day doesn’t do anything for your teeth, and can actually put your entire oral health in jeopardy. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. You should also make sure you’re visiting your dentist twice a year.
To remove surface stains, you can use a toothpaste and a mouthwash that includes a whitening agent. However, deeper stains may require more. Try using OTC (over the counter) whitening products such as whitening strips or full whitening kits. If you’re still not seeing the results you desire, talk with your dentist about other options.
#2: Eat Healthy/Avoid Stain-Causing Foods
Healthy Foods for Teeth
Eating healthy truly benefits the entire body, and your teeth aren’t an exception to this fact. For example, our teeth and bones are made out of many minerals, but they’re both made out of calcium and phosphorus, so many of the foods that strengthen bones also strengthen teeth. Calcium-rich foods and drinks like cheese and milk are good for the teeth, and healthy teeth are whiter teeth. Other healthy foods and drinks that benefit teeth include:
- Water (with fluoride)
- Kale, spinach, and other leafy greens
- Carrots, celery, and other crunchy vegetables
- Brazil nuts and cashews
- Apples, pears, and other crunchy fruits
Food and Drinks that Cause Stains
At the same time, certain foods can damage the teeth, causing stains, chips, and even cavities. Even good oral hygiene can’t combat the issues that certain foods and drinks cause if you overindulge in them. Eating a lot of junk food can also be considered a bad habit— for both the health of your teeth and your entire body. Avoid or limit the following foods and drinks:
- Red wine
- Hardy/chewy candy
- Fruit juices
#3: Realistic Fake Teeth Options
If good oral hygiene, not smoking, and healthy eating are giving you the results you want and you can’t afford expensive teeth whitening treatments, consider getting fake teeth. Today, fake teeth aren’t the same as they were decades ago— they look much more natural, they’re more comfortable, and there are several fake teeth options to choose from:
- Composite Bonding
- Crown implants
- Dentures (permanent and removable)
- Veneers (porcelain and snap-on)
Some options are much more affordable than others (usually the temporary options are less expensive). Also, dental insurance may not cover all cosmetic dental procedures unless it’s needed for a medical or functional reason.
What Cosmetic Dentistry Can Fix
Whitening teeth isn’t the only way to “brighten” a smile, as there are other teeth issues besides stained or yellow teeth. Good oral hygiene can prevent cavities that can lead to tooth decay and chipped/broken teeth, but crooked teeth can’t be corrected with brushing twice daily. Veneers can make your teeth look whiter, straighter, cover missing teeth, and have a better overall appearance. Other dental procedures include:
- Braces/clear aligners to straighten teeth
- Bridges, crowns, and dentures to cover missing teeth
- Bonding to repair chipped/cracked/broken teeth
Just keep in mind that it’s still important to continue with your good oral hygiene habits if you get any of these fake teeth options.
While you’re keeping up with your routine dentist visits, discuss any concerns you may have with your dentist. He or she can help you choose the best course of action for achieving the smile you desire, which may include referring you to an orthodontist. Again, your dentist will remind you to keep up with brushing and flossing to make sure your teeth remain healthy.