Frequently Asked Questions
Teeth Stains: Causes, Types, and How to Remove Teeth Stains
Teeth stain for many reasons, including your food and drink choices, oral hygiene, and medication use. Teeth stains occur on the surface of the tooth or below the tooth enamel and some people develop both types of teeth stains.
Types of Tooth Discoloration (Stains)
Tooth discoloration can occur as a result of surface stains, due to actual changes in your tooth material, or because of a combination of both factors. Dental professionals have identified three main categories of tooth discoloration:
•Extrinsic Teeth Stains: An extrinsic tooth stain is staining on the surface of the tooth. It occurs when stain particles, such as pigmented residue from food or drink, build-up in the film of protein that covers the tooth enamel. Extrinsic tooth stains are typically caused by tobacco use or by regularly drinking coffee and tea, wine or cola drinks. This type of tooth stain responds well to regular dental cleaning and brushing the teeth with whitening toothpaste.
•Intrinsic Teeth Stains: An intrinsic tooth stain is staining below the surface of the tooth. It occurs when stain-causing particles work through the exterior of the tooth and accumulate within the tooth enamel. Excessive fluoride use and also have been associated with intrinsic, especially in children. An intrinsic tooth stain is trickier to remove, but it can be done. An intrinsic tooth stain may require bleaching using professional or at-home chemical teeth-whitening products, such as Whitestrips.
•Age-Related Teeth Stains: Age-related teeth stains combine the results of both intrinsic and extrinsic tooth discoloration. Because the core tissue of your teeth, the dentin, naturally yellows over time, teeth discolor with age. As we age, the enamel that covers the tooth becomes thinner, allowing the dentin to show through. These intrinsic causes of discoloration combined with extrinsic causes such as the effects of certain foods, beverages, and tobacco, will cause most adults’ teeth to discolor with age.
Stained Teeth Causes
Teeth stains have many causes. Certain foods and drinks can cause teeth stains, and as we’ve talked about, tooth discoloration is also a product of several biological factors, including the transparency of your tooth enamel.
• Food & Drink: Coffee, tea, dark sodas, red wine, and even a few fruits and vegetables are proven causes of discolored teeth.
• Tobacco: Both cigarettes and chewing tobacco can contribute to discolored teeth.
• Oral Care: Poor dental hygiene, such as inadequate brushing or flossing, can lead to tooth discoloration.
• Trauma or Disease: Any trauma, illness, or disease that affects enamel development in children—either in the womb or while teeth are developing (under the age of 8)—can cause discolored teeth. Trauma to adult teeth can also cause discolored teeth. In addition, there are a few diseases and disease treatments that can cause discolored teeth. Chemotherapy and radiation, for example, discolor teeth.
• Medical Treatments: Sometimes medical treatments can contribute to teeth stain, and several classes of medications including high blood pressure medications, chemotherapy, antihistamines and some antipsychotic medications can cause teeth stains
How to Remove Teeth Stains
Fortunately, there are many treatment options for teeth stains. Keep your teeth healthy and looking great by maintaining a consistent oral health routine including twice-daily toothbrushing and daily flossing, twice-yearly visits to your dentist, and by limiting your consumption of teeth-staining beverages. Regular whitening maintenance will help keep them looking whiter and brighter.
Regardless of the type of tooth discoloration you have, there are many safe, over-the-counter, teeth-whitening products available to help you makeover your discolored teeth into a beautiful white smile. Ask your dentist for recommendations on the best teeth whitening option to treat your age-related tooth stains and discoloration.
How to chose the right toothpaste for your kid?
1) Look for the ADA seal.
When trying to find the best toothpaste, it’s important to start with one that is recommended by the American Dental Association. Their seal of approval can be found on the box and tube and ensures that the toothpaste has been objectively evaluated for safety by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.
2) Avoid harsh abrasives.
Many toothpastes, especially those advertised as “whitening” often contain abrasives that can damage young tooth enamel.
3) Check for fluoride.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has been shown to dramatically reduce tooth decay. But you should remember to have children spit out toothpaste and avoid swallowing it. Too much fluoride can cause a condition known as fluorosis. For children too young to spit out toothpaste, you may consider using a fluoride free toothpaste or only a small “pea size” amount.
4) Consider the flavor.
While not a health related issue, you want to make sure that a toothpaste doesn’t taste bad to your child. Many children often find traditional flavors like mint to be “spicy” and they often prefer the more kid friendly options available today.
How to chose the right toothbrush for your kids?
A toothbrush should fit easily in your child’s mouth. Choose a brush with soft bristles made of a round-ended or polished material because they will get your child’s teeth clean without being too harsh on the gums.
When your child is a baby or toddler, you can use a damp cloth or gauze to clean his or her teeth and gums. You can also use a gentle toothbrush. You can even start brushing before your baby has any teeth. A baby’s toothbrush should have a very small head that will fit comfortably in the mouth. Brushing your baby’s teeth and gums will get him or her used to twice-daily brushing.
When your child reaches the age of 2, he or she will probably want to participate more in brushing. Choose a toothbrush with a small head and a soft grip that will be easy for your child to hold. A toddler does not have the coordination to brush effectively, but he or she can try before or after a parent does a more thorough job. You can try a manual or powered toothbrush.
Toothbrushes for kids between the ages of 5 and 8 have slimmer handles because older children have more dexterity than toddlers. A child between 5 and 8 years old can do a better job of brushing, but you will still need to supervise and may need to help with hard-to-reach places. Many toothbrushes for children in this age range are decorated with popular TV and movie characters, animals, and other fun designs. Choose a toothbrush your child likes so that he or she will look forward to using it.
Kids aged 8 and older can brush their teeth themselves. Toothbrushes for older children are similar to adult toothbrushes, but the heads are slightly smaller and the handles are larger. A preadolescent child can use either a manual or electric toothbrush. Both do an equally good job of cleaning teeth, but a powered toothbrush may be easier for a child to use.
Covid and Oral Hygiene
Here are some oral healthcare tips to follow during these times of Covid-19
1.Maintain an Excellent Oral Care Regime
Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day – as soon as you get up in the morning and right before you go to bed. When you do brush your teeth, brush them for at least two minutes, as this will allow adequate time to ensure every tooth surface is cleaned thoroughly.
2.Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
Many people forget to replace their toothbrushes, but you must do this every 2-3 months, or more regularly if it starts to look worn or splayed. Remember, if your toothbrush is old or worn out, it won’t clean your teeth effectively and you are putting yourself at higher risk of dental problems down the road, such as decay.
3.Flossing is a Must
Dental floss is a traditional and straightforward way to clean between your teeth, but if you have trouble with it, try interdental brushes or soft picks. Failing to adequately floss leaves approximately one-third of your tooth surfaces uncleaned, which greatly increases your chance of tooth decay and gum disease.
4.Reduce Your Daily Intake of Sugar
When you frequently snack on sugary foods, it increases the acidity in your mouth. This acid attacks your tooth enamel and weakens it, eventually resulting in cavities. So be careful about your intake of sugar and if you want to snack on sweet treats, include them as part of your main meal, as it will reduce the amount of time your mouth is acidic and the potential damage to your teeth.
Your body needs a lot of water so that it can produce enough saliva to maintain your oral health. Saliva is a protective fluid that helps your mouth maintain a more neutral pH, and it washes away excess food particles, old skin cells, and bacteria. It also contains specific minerals to protect your teeth and lower your risk of decay.
Which is the right toothbrush for you?
Small brush head and well-designed bristles: Choose a toothbrush with a small brush head and a bristle design that helps you to get to the hard-to-reach places of your mouth.
Soft bristles: Your toothbrush should have soft bristles that are gentle on your teeth and gums.
Comfortable handle: Many toothbrushes have non-slip grips which make them easy to use even if wet.
Multi-angled bristles: They are designed to increase contact with tooth surfaces between teeth, lifting out plaque even from tough spots.
Foods to prevent tooth cavity
Eggs: You may be surprised to learn that eggs are rich in vitamin D, an essential nutrient that makes our teeth stronger.
Sweet potatoes: These are very high in Vitamin A, an essential nutrient for salivary function, which balances oral pH to keep cavity-causing bacteria at bay.
Salami: Cured meats contain K2, a lesser-known vitamin that appears to play a key role in keeping our teeth strong.
Yogurt: Loaded with vitamin D and calcium, yogurt contains immunity-boosting probiotics, which can help reduce the number of bad bacteria in your mouth.
Cheese: A growing body of research is showing that cheese can help ward off cavities by strengthening tooth enamel.
Avocados: High in vitamins and minerals, avocados are rich in
potassium, which helps prevent mineral loss in teeth and bones.
Beans: Most types of beans are rich in phosphate, an essential nutrient that can remineralize teeth and keep them strong.
Tea: You can also consume certain drinks to prevent cavities; studies suggest that tea can help reduce harmful bacteria that cause cavities and periodontal disease.
Milk: Because it is also rich in calcium, milk is another beverage that can help prevent cavities by strengthening your teeth.
You can also protect your oral health by eating plenty of juicy fruits and fibrous vegetables, which help keep your mouth moist and scrub teeth clean as you chew.
How to Choose right toothpaste for you?
Look for ADA approval
It’s important to make sure any dental product displays the American Dental Association seal of approval. This indicates that the product has provided scientific evidence that has clearly demonstrated safety and efficacy in the eyes of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. If a toothpaste does not have the ADA seal of approval, it has not necessarily been tested for its claims and quality.
Consider your individual needs
In addition to fluoride, some toothpastes often contain other active ingredients designed to help whiten teeth, lessen tooth sensitivity, prevent gingivitis, reduce enamel erosion, limit tartar build-up or prevent bad breath. When choosing a toothpaste, carefully consider your options and select a product that addresses your needs.
Choose a fluoride toothpaste
According to the ADA, brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste is fundamental to oral hygiene and health, due to fluoride’s proven cavity fighting properties. Unfortunately, many natural toothpastes do not contain fluoride. Much of this is due to misinformation about the health implications and effectiveness of fluoride as it relates to preventing tooth decay. In reality, numerous studies have proved that brushing without fluoride toothpaste is less effective and can leave teeth more vulnerable to decay. For the best protection, find a toothpaste with at least 1,000 parts per million fluoride.
Avoid problematic toothpastes
If you have sensitive teeth, you will want to avoid whitening toothpastes, which contain abrasive ingredients designed to eliminate stains and polish teeth. These toothpastes can irritate or worsen tooth sensitivity.
Soothe your sensitivity
If you experience pain or discomfort when you drink hot or cold liquids, your dentist may recommend a toothpaste designed to strengthen enamel and soothe your symptoms.
When and how often should you brush your teeth?
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes each time.
When you brush your teeth, you help remove food and plaque — a sticky white film that forms on your teeth and contains bacteria. After you eat a meal or snack that contains sugar, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel.
Eventually, the acid can break down tooth enamel, causing cavities. Plaque that isn’t removed can also harden into tartar, making it harder to keep teeth clean. Tartar buildup on your gums leads to inflammation that causes gum disease.
In choosing when to brush your teeth, you might also consider your diet. If you’ve eaten an acidic food or drink, avoid brushing your teeth right away. These acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can remove enamel.
Why you shouldn’t skip brushing at night?
There is a consistent build-up of acid in your mouth, but the saliva keeps neutralizing the acid due to its calcium presence. However, saliva production decreases while you’re asleep, which can increase the acid levels, which then allow bacteria to start eating your teeth. If you brush your teeth before sleeping, the fluoride that remains in your mouth will maintain the saliva level in your mouth, preventing any damage caused due to the bacteria.
When you consume high fiber foods, tiny particles of it get stuck in your teeth, which may not even be noticeable. If these tiny particles stay in your mouth, they attract bacteria that can cause a cavity. Brushing at night can help clear out these tiny particles of food from your mouth.
If you maintain a brushing practice every night, it prevents the build-up of plaque in the long run. Plaque is the yellow substance that settles in your teeth and makes them look dirty. It can also lead to various other dental issues if not dealt with in a timely manner. Hence, just brushing at night can save you many expensive dental visits in the long run.
So even if you feel tired before bed, push yourself for five more minutes and make sure you brush your teeth before bedtime.
Oil pulling involves swishing oil around the mouth, using it like a mouthwash. It has been used for thousands of years as an Indian folk remedy.
In order to oil pull, you put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, then swish it around for 15–20 minutes.
The main benefit of doing this is that it reduces the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
There are hundreds of different types of bacteria in your mouth. While many of them are friendly, others are not.
The bacteria in your mouth create a biofilm on your teeth, a thin layer known as plaque.
Having some plaque on your teeth is perfectly normal, but if it gets out of hand, it can cause various problems, including bad breath, gum inflammation, gingivitis and cavities.
The way oil pulling works is simple — when you swish the oil around your mouth, the bacteria get swept away and dissolve in the liquid oil.
Oil pulling should work with pretty much any oil, but extra-virgin coconut oil is a popular choice due to its pleasant taste.
It also has a favorable fatty acid profile, containing high amounts of lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties (1Trusted Source)
Oil Pulling Can Reduce Plaque and Gingivitis.
Oil Pulling Can Reduce Bad Breath
There are many misconceptions about oil pulling.
One common claim is that oil pulling can whiten your teeth. However, currently no studies confirm this benefit
What Are Teeth Made Of?
Enamel – the hard, outer layer of your teeth – is made of minerals like calcium phosphate. Enamel is harder than your bones. In fact, it is the hardest substance in your whole body. However, unlike your bones, your enamel doesn’t contain any living tissues.
Dentin is the tissue underneath your enamel. This bone-like tissue makes up most of your teeth’s structure, and it is very susceptible to the bacteria that cause tooth sensitivity and cavities.
The soft core of your tooth is called a pulp. The pulp is a living tissue that contains connective tissues, nerves and blood vessels.