As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth gets worn away. This is a natural part of the aging process; however, certain foods, drinks, and general clenching and friction can wear down or fracture your teeth prematurely.
Enamel erosion can be caused by:
- Sugary foods (e.g., ice cream, syrups, caramel)
- Starchy foods (e.g., white bread)
- Acidic foods (e.g., apples, oranges, lemons, berries, rhubarb)
- Fruit drinks and juices
- Excess vitamin C
- Chronic acid reflux
- Low levels of saliva (which is a symptom of diabetes)
- Regular use of antihistamines or aspirin
DIY teeth whitening tips
Here are a few things you can try at home to help keep your smile healthy and bright:
- Use toothpaste that contains baking soda and 1% hydrogen peroxide
Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can help scrub away surface stains on the teeth. It also creates an alkaline environment in your mouth, which prevents bacteria growth. Hydrogen peroxide has a whitening effect because it can pass easily into the tooth and break down complex molecules. According to a recent study, brushing with a commercial toothpaste containing baking soda and peroxide twice per day led to 62% whiter teeth in 6 weeks
- Eat fruits and vegetables
While they’re no substitute for brushing, certain raw fruits and vegetables may be good for your body and your teeth. Strawberries contain the tooth-whitening enzyme malic acid, which can help keep your teeth free of stains. Pineapples contain the tooth-whitening enzyme bromelain, which helps break up plaque and acts natural stain remover.
- Don’t underestimate the value of regular brushing and flossing
Regular brushing and flossing can help your teeth stay whiter longer by reducing the amount of bacteria in your mouth and preventing plaque buildup. Toothpaste gently scrubs away stains, and flossing removes bacteria that leads to plaque between the teeth.
- Tray-based tooth whiteners
Some tray-based tooth whiteners are available over the counter and involve wearing a fitted tray over the teeth. The tray contains a bleaching gel and is worn 2-4 hours a day or overnight. The American Dental Association considers whiteners with 10% carbamide peroxide to be safe.
Tips for slowing the aging process
Here are a few helpful tips for keeping older teeth as healthy, and as white, as possible:
- Limit sweet and starchy foods
- Brush and floss at least twice a day
- Visit your dentist for regular teeth cleanings and check-ups
- If you smoke, quit
- Keep your dental work (e.g., implants, fillings, bridges, etc.) well maintained
- Maintain a healthy diet high in immune-boosting and bacteria-busting foods
If you’re beginning to notice that your smile isn’t as bright or white as it used to be, visit your local Alpine Dental Health office to find out how we can help enhance your smile. Whether you need a professional teeth cleaning or are looking to transform your smile with cosmetic dentistry, we can help. We also offer safe, fast, affordable and professional tooth whitening services to help restore your smile. We have friendly and modern offices located in Fort Collins, Denver and Boulder, Colorado.