As a society, we spend a lot of money trying to achieve a whiter, brighter smile. There are all sorts of products out there that promise to remove stains, from whitening strips to toothpaste to UV lights.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about discolored teeth, there’s no reason to go through the trial-and-error process of finding the product that works. 

Instead, listen to your dentist to find out what works and what doesn’t. We’re here to share our expertise on yellowed teeth and the steps you can take to achieve a whiter smile.

Read on to learn the real methods to rely on for teeth whitening.

Brush and Floss Daily

This one might seem simple enough, but it really is the best line of defense against tooth discoloration. When your teeth start to look yellow or discolored, there are two likely factors at play: your enamel is wearing down, and your teeth or absorbing stains from food, drink, and other substances.

Enamel is your tooth’s natural protective coating, and it’s whiter than the dentin below. Brushing and flossing twice a day can remove the acid from your mouth that’s eating away at your enamel. You can also use toothpaste designed to strengthen or rebuild enamel if it’s too late for preventative measures.

Brushing and flossing can also help to remove the plaque that accumulates throughout the day and night. Plaque buildup can lead to gum disease and other oral health issues while also leaving our teeth looking yellow. 

Get Regular Dental Cleanings

Even the most devoted brusher and flosser is unlikely to remove every bit of plaque from their teeth. Dental tools and training are needed to get to all of those hard-to-reach places where plaque can hide. Plus, once the plaque starts creeping under the gum line, you’re going to need professional intervention to get it out.

Going to the dentist twice a year also gives you and your dentist plenty of opportunities to catch dental hygiene issues before they escalate. Oftentimes, tooth discoloration is a secondary symptom of a bigger problem. By taking good care of your oral hygiene, you can reduce your chances of developing severe tooth discoloration in the first place.

Get Professional Teeth Whitening

If you’re finding yourself tempted to buy all of those teeth-whitening products, call your dentist, first. Cosmetic dentistry is performed by a trained and licensed dentist that can prioritize both your health and your aesthetic goals at the same time. 

Not all of those products are going to work well for every person. Teeth whitening should always start with a dental exam to determine the cause of tooth discoloration. If you’re using a solution that doesn’t address the cause, you’re probably not going to see great results, which is frustrating for you and your wallet. 

Be Mindful of Substances That Stain

If you’ve recently had your teeth whitened and want to keep them that way, you might want to cut back on some of the substances that cause the most staining. A big one for American adults is coffee, which has high acidity levels. The good news is that you don’t have to cut out coffee altogether but can instead add more milk or creamer to your cup.

Another substance that can cause serious staining is red wine. Drinking a lot of dark wine can actually stain your teeth a blue color, which can make it look like your teeth are decaying even when they’re otherwise healthy. If you do enjoy a glass of red wine, make sure to rinse it down with a glass of water.

Finally, consider quitting smoking and using tobacco products if you currently do. Nicotine gets trapped in your porous enamel and turns yellow or brown when exposed to oxygen. If you need help cutting tobacco out of your life, talk to your doctor about cessation methods.

Consider Tooth Replacement for Damaged Teeth

What happens if your teeth are discolored due to serious damage and decay? If the damage is minor, your dentist may be able to fix the damage and heal the tooth. If the damage is serious, you may need to consider dental implants or other tooth replacement options.

Keep in mind that when your dentist creates an implant, they’re going to color-match the implant to the rest of your teeth. You may want to get your healthy teeth whitened first before getting your implant. Implants and veneers cannot be whitened, so use preventative measures to keep them looking fresh and white.

Watch Out for Big Claims With No Evidence

If you’ve been considering ways to whiten your teeth for some time, you’ve probably come across a lot of “DIY” or “natural” methods. These include things like oil pulling, brushing with activated charcoal, and rinsing with apple cider vinegar. Can these methods really whiten your teeth?

It’s useful to consult the ADA if you’re unsure about a dental claim. In this case, the ADA has not found sufficient evidence to suggest that these methods are effective. In fact, some of these methods can cause health problems and are best avoided. 

Visit Your Georgetown Dentist for Discolored Teeth

If you’re worried about discolored teeth, your best line of defense is your local dentist’s office. At Thompson Family and Implant Dentistry, we offer everything from regular dental cleanings to cosmetic services. We can assess the cause of your tooth discoloration and go from there to give you the whiter, brighter smile you deserve.

If you’re looking for a dentist office in Georgetown, you’re in the right place. Contact us today to find out more about our services and schedule your first appointment.