Most of us wouldn’t mind whiter teeth and an attractive smile. Healthy, bright teeth make the face more vibrant and younger.
Causes of teeth discolouration
There are many reasons for tooth discolouration:
- Internal tooth discolouration can be caused by dental trauma, medication or nutritional deficiencies.
- External tooth discolouration can be caused by tannin-rich foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, red wine or tobacco.
Superficial discolouration can usually be removed easily with a regular professional tooth cleaning. However, everyone has a natural, individual tooth colour, which can be light, greyish, or yellowish. As the discolouring substances penetrate deep into the tooth enamel, the natural tooth colour will change over time. As a result, yellowish-brown "age discolourations" occur that cannot be removed even with thorough dental hygiene.
5 Tips to keep teeth whiter for longer
Tooth whitening allows the teeth to be whitened by two to three shades. The tooth bleaching agents mostly contain oxygen radicals. They enter the tooth enamel and chemically change the colourants in the tooth and thus cause the teeth to lighten.
For your teeth to stay white for as long as possible, you should follow a few tips, especially in the first few days after teeth whitening.
1. Avoid foods that can stain your teeth, especially in the first 2-3 days
Discolouring pigments can very easily penetrate the tooth enamel and re-stain the tooth after bleaching. To prevent this, you should avoid colouring foods for the first two to three days. Fruit or juices that contain a lot of acids are also unsuitable as they irritate teeth, which might already be overly sensitive. If possible, remove the following colouring foods from your menu for the next two weeks.
- Red wine, grape juice
- Black tea, rooibos and green tea, coffee, cola
- Carrots, beetroot, peppers, spinach, tomatoes
- Berries, cherries, grapes
- Ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar
- Saffron, curry, turmeric
- Dark chocolate
2. Follow the "white diet" after whitening
In the first few days, it’s preferred that you eat white foods such as:
- Yoghurt, milk, cottage cheese
- Cauliflower, celery
- Turkey, fish
- White flour products such as white bread, toast, semolina, pasta, etc.
3. Consider how often you consume colouring foods in the years after
On average, the bleaching effect lasts three to five years. How long your teeth actually stay white will also depend on your diet and dental care. The more colouring food you consume, the faster the lightening effect will fade. That is why it is wise to limit the consumption of tannin-rich foods and beverages.
4. Consider smoking’s impact on tooth colour
In addition to all the foods listed above, tobacco also has a discolouring affect on teeth, which is why you should avoid them in the first few days after bleaching. To keep the white result and to maintain general dental health, it’s advisable to quit smoking.
On the other hand, whitening toothpaste is not a solution for those who can't stop smoking. They often contain very coarse particles that remove tooth enamel, damaging the teeth and even darkening them in the long term if the protective enamel layer is lost.
5. Use the right dental products after teeth whitening
Avoid mouthwash as well as toothpaste with stripes during the first days, as the colours in these products could also stain the teeth. Fluoride gel can be used to support the remineralization process after the whitening and reduce sensitivity and irritation.
Pain after whitening
You may experience tooth sensitivity and gum irritation after bleaching. The symptoms usually subside after a short time, but if these side effects continue for more than three days, please contact your dentist.
Above all, good oral hygiene, flossing, and professional teeth cleaning will not only keep your teeth healthy, but also keep your teeth white for longer.
Dr Behnoosh Bidar is a specialist in cosmetic dentistry and dental surgery. Take a look at her Top Doctors to profile to discover how she can help you achieve your perfect smile.