As you age, your smile may lose that bright, sparkly appeal. Natural wear, stains and tooth decay can all take a toll on your smile, but you can keep your smile looking great by utilizing these simple tips to keeping your smile bright!
1. Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene is always important, but it’s even more important as you age. Naturally, with age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears down. The underlying layer, called dentin, is yellower, so you don’t have those white, glossy teeth that you had in your youth. As you age, the best way to keep your smile bright is good oral hygiene that includes brushing and flossing at least twice a day and visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. To remove plaque and stains, sonic or electric toothbrushes can be much more thorough and give you optimum cleaning power.
2. Avoid Stains
Coffee, tea, dark beverages, fruit juices and red wine are all liquids many of us consume on a daily basis that cause staining to tooth enamel. According to dental care experts, teeth actually become more vulnerable and absorbent to staining from food. By drinking just two cups of coffee a day for several years, teeth will become stained very quickly if you’re not rinsing or brushing afterward. Avoiding these products will keep teeth whiter, but if you can’t use home remedies to brighten your smile. Foods like carrots, celery, apples, and pears trigger increased saliva that helps to wash food debris off your teeth.
3. Rinse After Eating
To keep your teeth bright, brush or rinse immediately after a meal. Although it’s probably healthier to avoid some teeth-staining products, you don’t want to avoid healthy fruits and vegetables in your diet. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and beets are loaded with healthy antioxidants and nutrients, but their deep color can easily stain your teeth and their acidity will add wear to your enamel. A big misconception is to brush your teeth after eating every time, but be choosy in this matter. If you just ate high acidic foods, by brushing afterward, you may be helping the acid to wear away the enamel that it’s softening. To prevent stains by rinsing your teeth immediately after eating your fruits and vegetables with cold water.
4. Don’t Smoke
According to the ADA, smoking is one of the worst offenders when it comes to discolored teeth. Tobacco causes dark brown stains that are difficult to remove by brushing because they penetrate deeply into the pits and grooves of tooth enamel. The longer you smoke, the harder the stains are to remove without professional dental help. Smoking not only damages your tooth enamel, it causes gum disease (gingivitis) which can result in tooth loss altogether. If you’re a smoker, get professional help to quit in the best interest of your health and your smile.
5. Watch Medications
Unfortunately, aging can include prescription and over-the-counter medications for health problems. You can’t avoid medications you need, but be aware that many medications can discolor your teeth. Many antihistamines, anti-depressants and blood pressure medications cause tooth stains, so taking them for prolonged periods can leave you with an unattractive smile. Vitamins that contain iron and iron supplements can darken your teeth. Fluoride in toothpaste and anti-bacterial mouthwashes with cetylpyridinium chloride or chlorhexidine can stain your teeth as well. If you can’t avoid these things, talk to your dentist about professional solutions to brighten your smile.
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