Maintaining a white smile without help from a professional can be difficult, even for the most diligent people. If you're troubled because your teeth don't look as white as they could, here's a quick explanation as to why most people go through this at one time or another.
Are You Avoiding the Right Things?
Taking good care of your oral hygiene is obviously a must in order for your teeth to look their best. But that's not all there is to it. What you do is important, but so is what you're not doing.
For example, the foods you eat can often leave behind stains on your teeth. Dark-colored foods and drinks tend to be a problem in this regard. For example, coffee, black tea, wine, grapes, curry, and even soy sauce can leave behind stains on your teeth. Unfortunately, simply brushing may not be enough to get rid of this, because these foods and drinks are essentially dyeing your teeth one bit at a time.
Cutting these things out of your diet can be helpful, but it won't necessarily be the perfect solution you're looking for, as there are other considerations as well.
The Aging Process
For example, simply getting older can impact the way that your teeth look. As you age, enamel on the surface of the teeth tends to wear down a little at a time. This process can be sped up if you don't take good care of your oral hygiene or brush too hard, but it will eventually happen to everyone simply from the wear and tear of eating every day.
As the enamel breaks down and thins, it starts to reveal the surface of the teeth underneath. Your dentin, which is the next layer down, is typically either yellow or brown. As this color bleeds through, it can make your teeth look stained and discolored.
What to Do
Once your teeth are discolored, there's very little you can do about it at home. Whitening kits for use in the home may not be very effective, especially if you don't change your diet, and they can't make up for the color of your dentin if thinning enamel is the problem. In this situation, the best thing you can do is to go to a pro that does this kind of thing every day.
Cosmetic dentists are there to assist in this area. They can quickly analyze your teeth to figure out whether surface stains or thinning enamel is the problem, and will adjust their teeth whitening treatment accordingly. Unlike at-home kits, professional teeth whitening treatments address more than just the surface layer of the tooth, so if stains aren't your problem, you'll still get results. You also won't need to worry about teeth whitening damaging your enamel further, which can happen with at-home kits.
To learn more about teeth whitening, reach out to a local cosmetic dentist.