Letâ€™s face it – most of us like having white teeth. Not the blindingly white variety that many US celebrities favour, just pleasantly pearly. Yellow, stained teeth are perceived as unattractive and can generate negative impressions.
But sometimes, even with brushing and flossing two or three times a day, you can still end up with a distinct shade of dingy beige. So, whatâ€™s causing the staining and what can you do to prevent it?
Apart from smoking being terrible for your health (including the increased risk of mouth cancer), the tar and other ingredients in the smoke stain your teeth. Rather than recommending you use a particular toothpaste, it would be best if you could stop smoking altogether. Itâ€™s not easy, but the NHS offers some helpful advice here. Some people find hypnotherapy and meditation help. Red wine, tea, and coffee If you drink a lot of coffee or tea (even fruit tea) throughout the day to keep you going, then unwind with a few glasses of red wine in the evening, itâ€™s hardly surprising your teeth are stained. The acid in these drinks do more than stain; it eats away your tooth enamel. If enough enamel is eroded, the yellow dentine underneath will show through and bleaching your teeth wonâ€™t help. To limit the damage these tannins can do, rinse your mouth out as soon as you can after having tea, coffee, and red wine, plus consider drinking your cabernet sauvignon through a straw. And although white wine wonâ€™t directly stain your teeth, the acid can still harm your enamel if you drink too much.
Every dentist says sugar isnâ€™t good for your teeth â€“ but thereâ€™s good reason for that! The sugar in sweets, cake and even fruit juice is bad enough, but the real damage is done by the bacteria that loves to feed on the sugary residue left on your teeth. The bacteria releases acid that eats away your enamel, allowing staining, decay, and that lovely yellow dentine to show through. You donâ€™t have to give up your biscuits and pop â€“ just moderate your intake and remember to brush. Incidentally, anything carbonated is acidic, so even sugar-free pop can damage your teeth if you drink enough of it.
Using a toothpaste designed to whiten your teeth can help but be careful not to use one that has harmful abrasives, as they can remove enamel as well as stains. If you brush your teeth as recommended by your dentist, you should only need to use a whitening toothpaste once or twice a week. Bicarbonate of soda has gained popularity as a natural whitening substance, however baking soda is abrasive, so using it to brush your teeth is not recommended.
Teeth Whitening Treatment
If your teeth are badly stained, there are different treatments available at your dental practice to whiten your teeth. You can have bespoke teeth trays made to use at home with a whitening gel containing peroxide. The beauty of the trays is that you can bleach your teeth in the comfort of your own home whenever you feel itâ€™s necessary.
Good oral hygiene requires fastidious teeth brushing, but thatâ€™s not enough on its own. Flossing and/or using interdental brushes is also necessary to remove food residue and plaque in between teeth.
If you donâ€™t follow the recommended regimen, you may think the worst that can happen is the odd filling. Wrong! The health of your mouth affects a lot more than just teeth and gums, and it could be down to bacteria present with gum disease.
The normal bacteria in our mouths combines with saliva to form a sticky substance called plaque. If brushing and flossing doesnâ€™t remove the plaque, it then becomes tartar, which is much harder to dislodge. Bacteria feed off sugars in high-carb foods, which in turn creates acid. This acid can cause tooth decay, as well as inflammation in the gums. In the early stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis, you might notice swelling, tenderness, and bleeding when you brush your teeth. Gingivitis can be dealt with by your dentist, although you will have to step up your cleaning routine at home. The danger arises when the condition progresses and becomes periodontitis. This stage is more aggressive and can lead to loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth, resulting in teeth moving and even falling out. Some people are more prone to gum disease than others, such as diabetics, and you might not have any symptoms, which is why itâ€™s vital you see your dentist regularly, or as soon as you notice a problem. But according to ongoing research, it may not be just your mouth you need to worry about if you have periodontitis.
While an irrefutable link between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease doesnâ€™t yet exist, a number of studies, such as this paper, show a compelling relationship between the two diseases. While the results may be coincidental or due to lifestyle factors, there is a growing theory that the same bacteria that inflames your gums can damage artery linings when it gets into the bloodstream. While oral plaque and arterial plaque are different, people with gum disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease.
Type II diabetes
Itâ€™s long been accepted that patients with diabetes have a greater chance of experiencing gum disease, but it seems the reverse may also be true. One study found a link between periodontal disease and developing type II diabetes, and here again, the common factor was chronic inflammation. Itâ€™s possible this correlation is down to coincidence or other variables, but itâ€™s worth thinking about.
A recent Chinese study concluded that those with advanced periodontal disease were more likely to develop Alzheimerâ€™s. While more research is needed to confirm whether gum disease causes dementia, there is an association between infectious diseases that cause low-grade inflammation and people developing Alzheimerâ€™s. Whether gum disease causes any of the above health issues isnâ€™t 100% certain, however there is a common factor throughout â€“ inflammation. But irrespective of these possible connections, progressive gum disease in itself can have a significant impact on the quality of life with the resulting pain, bleeding, inflammation, abscesses, and tooth loss. This has a knock-on effect on what you can eat, your face shape, and even your speech. The best way to avoid this problem is to use interdental brushes or floss before you brush with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day, and to see your dentist and hygienist every six months.
Better safe than sorry.
Missing teeth arenâ€™t fun. Okay, youâ€™re probably better off without your wisdom teeth,but otherwise gaps can cause problems for your gums, for eating and even speaking clearly.
Teeth either side can sometimes shift into the gap at an angle or loosen. And if the gaps are visible when you smile, it can make you self-conscious. You may feel like putting up with the loss of an odd molar, choosing to grind your food on the other side, but once youâ€™ve had a couple of teeth pulled, itâ€™s time to bridge those gaps!
Dentures have been around for a long time. As far back as 800BC, they were being made from human and animal teeth in Italy. Theyâ€™ve come a long way since then, and are now made from acrylic resin, nylon, or metal. Depending on how many teeth are missing, you will be fitted for a full or partial set. After your teeth are pulled, impressions will be taken. Dentures are often ready soon after your teeth are pulled, unless gums need to heal first. The good news is that you wonâ€™t be toothless for very long, but the bad news is that as your mouth settles down, your gums may shrink or change shape, meaning youâ€™ll have to have the dentures relined or even remade. This can also happen as you age, so one set of dentures probably wonâ€™t last you a lifetime. Some people never get the perfect fit, so they rely on cushioning pads and sticky gels to hold them in place. Ill-fitting / loose dentures can fall out, and particles of food can get stuck underneath, causing irritation. Despite the negatives, dentures are an affordable option.
In 1965, the first titanium implant was inserted into a human volunteer. The procedure involves inserting a metal screw into the jawbone, at the site of the missing tooth. Afterwards, time is needed to allow the bone to fuse with the screw. Once thatâ€™s happened, a crown is put over the screw. The beauty of implants is that they are permanent and totally secure. You can think of them as your own teeth. With fastidious oral hygiene, your implants could last up to 15 and possibly even 20 years. There is a slight risk of complications, such as peri-implant mucositis, a treatable condition where your gums are red and swollen. But strictly adhering to the recommended aftercare drastically reduces the occurrence of complications. Unfortunately, not everyone is suitable for implants; your gums and jaw must be healthy. And as implants are a big investment, they may not be the best choice if youâ€™re having quite a few teeth replaced. As dental implants require invasive techniques, an oral surgeon must carry out the procedure.
If you have one, two or more teeth missing in a row, you can have a bridge fitted.
The most common form is a fixed bridge, which consists of two crowns (to fit over the teeth on either side of the gap, ie, anchor teeth) bonded to artificial teeth in between. The downside to this type of bridge is that the anchor teeth must be filed down and root canal treatment may be carried out.
This type of bridge is suitable for those who donâ€™t have sound anchor teeth. Implants replace the anchor teeth, with artificial teeth in between. This is more economical than having a series of individual implants.
A bonded bridge is used to fill single gaps, and instead of crowns being used for the anchor teeth, small wings of metal are bonded to the artificial tooth and adjacent teeth. The advantage of a bonded bridge is that you donâ€™t sacrifice your good teeth, although the adhesive can weaken over time. The choice of individual implants, dentures or a bridge comes down to several factors:
â€¢ which replacement best suits your mouth
â€¢ the number of teeth youâ€™re having replaced
â€¢ whether your priority is cost or convenience
If youâ€™d like to bridge those gaps, contact us at The London Road Dental Practice, Coalville In May 2019, weâ€™re offering free implant suitability consultations (worth Â£75 with Dr Jonathan Ziff).