A Wide White Smile
Are you reluctant to flash a wide smile due to stained teeth? That yellow tinge may be related to the foods and drinks you consume daily.
A healthy salad dressing but its natural dark colour sticks on your teeth which can cause staining if it is not brushed away soon.
Coffee, tea, sodas and wine are some of the drinks causing stains due to the acidity found in them. It causes discoloration by wearing off enamel and exposing the darker yellower dentine.
Said to be packed full of nutrients and antioxidants but its acidity, bright red hue and inclination to stick on your teeth makes it vulnerable to staining.
Dr Samuel Loh, Dental Surgeon, Raffles Dental debunks common myths associated with teeth whitening.
True or False?
“This over-the-counter teeth whitening kit has been highly rated. It should work!”
False. Some over-the-counter products may contain hydrogen peroxide (main whitening ingredient) but they are normally in small amounts and do not remain on teeth long enough for a major effect.
“Whitening toothpaste should work in removing teeth stains!”
There are two types of teeth discolouration. Extrinsic stains are on the surface and may be removed with whitening toothpaste. However, as these toothpastes contain abrasives, excessive brushing might cause more damage. Intrinsic stains are subsurface stains and cannot be removed with whitening toothpaste. It is recommended to visit your dentist for professional cleaning or teeth whitening prescription.
“Mixing baking soda and lemon juice will help to whiten my teeth.”
False. This is an unhealthy and damaging method. Baking soda is an abrasive and can remove some surface staining. Lemon juice is very acidic and can erode your enamel, resulting in a “shinier” and “slicker” look! Though you may look like you have whiter teeth, you are actually eroding and abrading your teeth.
To reduce teeth staining, try these tips:
- Use a straw, if possible, to reduce dark dyed beverages’ contact with teeth.
- Neutralise acidic foods with protective foods, for example pairing wine with cheese.
- Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after having acidic foods as your teeth are in a “dissolved” state microscopically, and might erode from the brushing. Instead rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth after your saliva has neutralised ie after 30 minutes.