Secrets for Whiter Teeth from a local dentist Dr. Jennifer Emerson

With a dedication to our patients’ satisfaction as well as their good dental health, we at North Seattle Restorative & Preventative Dentistry are eager to brighten and strengthen your smile.

1. Avoid or at least limit drinks and foods that can stain your teeth. For example, coffee, tea, tobacco, blueberries, and red wine could all stain your teeth. If you do choose to consume these foods and drinks, consider limiting them or using a straw to cut down the amount of stain that will touch your front teeth.

2. When you consume stain-causing beverages or foods, we recommend rinsing with water immediately after consumption. And be aware that brushing and flossing your teeth are the best way to remove plaque, debris, and stain. This helps remove the sticky plaque and tarter build-up that discolors and weakens your teeth. This plaque biofilm builds up within six hours of touching teeth and forms a harmful hard tarter within two days.

3. Bleaching toothpastes contain gritty silicates which can abrade (scratch and wear down teeth to the point of weakening them) the surface enamel of teeth. Certain smooth pastes are better options. Many bleaching products weaken the enamel’s hard crystalline, inorganic matrix. When using a gritty paste at the same time, certain bleaching products make the color of teeth opalescent so they appear greyish and show gradations of yellow close to the gum-line. Also, if you have a grey hue to your teeth from tetracycline stains or from a fever when your teeth were developing during childhood, avoid all bleaching products as they will make the density of your teeth look more grey than white. The enamel matrix of normal healthy teeth may reconstitute itself and re-hydrate itself quickly after bleaching with a safe whitening product, but wait 30 minutes after bleaching before you brush your teeth. We also recommend using smooth, soft toothpastes with soft bristle tooth brushes and using a thicker dental floss. We also recommend always following the manufacturer’s guidelines when using a whitening product.

4. The color of teeth is the result of the foods you consume, following good oral hygiene practices by brushing your teeth after meals and flossing well, and routinely having your teeth cleaned by a good dental professional. (Only certified and experienced dental hygienists and dentists have this training!) Consider discussing teeth whitening with our team at North Seattle Restorative & Preventative Dentistry. Your regular annual dentist checkups or hygiene care visits are a good time for this conversation. We respect your time and can make these inquiries fit into your already scheduled appointments – which saves you both time and money!

5. If you are able to practice the steps above, you may not need as much restorative dentistry in the long-run. However, many patients discover that implants or veneers are a good way to achieve more attractive and whiter teeth, and at the same time these strengthen and preserve natural teeth for the long-term. Dr. Emerson, a local dentist in the North Seattle and Kenmore area, can discuss with you the treatment options which can benefit your smile as well as the long-term preservation of your natural teeth.

6. When a patient’s natural teeth are missing or they are too badly damaged to be functional, dentures or partials (removable or permanently attached to the jaw) may be good options for whiter and more functional teeth.