The impact of diet and lifestyle on teeth whitening

Diet and lifestyle can impact the effectiveness of teeth whitening treatments.  

a woman wearing yellow holding broccoli.Luminous white teeth are highly sought after. You may wonder why your teeth aren’t as white as they used to be. Even teeth that are naturally white and brilliant can lose their luster over time.  In this post, we seek to answer two questions: 

  • What causes tooth discoloration?
  • How can you bring your teeth back to their natural luster and shine?  

What causes tooth discoloration? 

There are a few reasons your teeth can become stained, discolored, or dull. 

  1. Food and drink choices. Coffee, tea, dark sodas and sauces, mustard, red wine, blueberries, pasta and potatoes are the most common culprits of tooth stains. Unsurprisingly, the prolonged use of cigarettes and chewing tobacco also cause discoloration and other oral and health problems. 
  2. Poor dental hygiene, including a lack of brushing and flossing can also lead to tooth stains. Counterintuitively, excessive fluoride use is associated with discolored teeth. 
  3. As we age, tooth enamel naturally thins. This reveals the yellow-colored dentin underneath. 
  4. Diseases, medical treatments and trauma can cause stains. These include certain childhood diseases that affect enamel development and injuries to the mouth. Medications and treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, Tetracycline, antihistamines, and antipsychotics can also lead to discoloration. 

Preventing and cleaning tooth stains at home

The good news is that although there are many ways teeth become stained, there are just as many ways to restore your bright smile. 

  • Reduce your consumption of foods and drinks that cause stains. When you do consume something that is known to stain, drink water to rinse your mouth. You can also try sipping liquids through a straw to prevent staining your front teeth. 
  • Quit tobacco use to keep your teeth from yellowing and to preserve your health.
  • Maintain a consistent oral health routine. Remember to stay away from whitening toothpastes.  They don’t work well and often deposit unnecessary amounts of acid on tooth enamel. Instead, opt for gentle  toothpastes with the ADA seal of approval. And be sure to visit Dr. Frahm for dental cleanings and check-ups. 
  • Brush at least two times per day for two minutes each time. Our Clinical Hygiene Director Stacey recommends a toothbrush with gentle bristles. She prefers an electric toothbrush like Sonicare or Oral B to support gum health. 
  • Flossing your teeth properly, everyday removes stain from between your teeth and along the gumline. 
  • Nature’s whitening. Some fruits and vegetables offer beautiful benefits that include a wee bit of smile enhancement. Next time you’re at the farmer’s market, consider buying some broccoli and cauliflower from our local farmers. These veggies give your teeth a good scrub.  They may help remove light stains and add a bit of shine, all while offering your body some incredible nutrients. 

Teeth whiteners

If your teeth stains don’t respond to the preventative measures listed above, there are different types of teeth whiteners that are available either over-the-counter or through Dr. Frahm. 

Over-the-counter whiteners

Stick-on strips and tooth shaped trays are widely available at grocery stores, drug stores and online. The results vary depending on the product, but you can see some visible differences within a few weeks. You should note that there are a few risks and downsides. Not only do you run the risk of burning gum tissue inadvertently with ill-fitting trays and strips, but most at-home products require frequent touch-ups. 

Professional grade whitening

There are two types of long-lasting teeth whitening treatments available at Dr. Frahm’s office: in-office treatments and take-home professional grade treatments. Both are custom whitening treatments that meet your specific needs. The in-office treatments provide immediate results.  The eco-friendly Sinsational Smile treatment whitens teeth up to five shades lighter in only 20 minutes. The ZOOM system is another powerful option which whitens teeth up to 10 shades in under an hour. 

Another popular solution is a professional, take-home whitening kit. The kits include whitening trays that are custom-fit to your mouth. Each treatment is followed by a high-grade fluoride treatment which produces whiter, brighter results within two to four weeks. In-office and take-home whitening treatments last six months to a year. Best of all, with Dr. Frahm, your take-home whitening kit is free when you become a patient. 

If you are looking to brighten your smile, contact our care team at Dr. Frahm’s office to explore your options. 

About Dr. Frahm

Dr. Frahm received her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in 2003. She completes more than 100 hours of postdoctoral training each year; earning recognition from dental experts around the country for her knowledge in the areas of cosmetic, general and restorative dentistry. Dr. Frahm is committed to providing you with excellent, comprehensive dental care. Dr. Frahm uses advanced dental techniques and technology to ensure your comfort and lasting results.

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