how to keep your teeth white
How can I keep my teeth white?
White teeth are vital for an attractive smile, and nothing is more of an asset in our lives these days than having an attractive smile. We are born with nice white teeth, but we only get the one permanent set that has to last a lifetime. Inevitably our teeth will tend to darken somewhat with age, as they become less translucent, and that is a natural process we can do little about.
There are though, things that can be done to keep our teeth as white as possible, and these revolve around two main principles: keeping our teeth clean; and avoiding food, drink, and habits that will cause discolouration.
Keeping our teeth clean is essential because the layer of sticky plaque that accumulates on our teeth daily attracts and holds stains right next to the tooth surfaces. The longer the plaque is there the greater the chance that stains will gradually permeate the enamel of the tooth surface and become fixed and permanent. The tooth enamel, although hard, is not impermeable. It is made up of a crystalline structure that will allow penetration and absorption of small molecules.
The layer of plaque on our teeth harbours not only stains, but bacteria too, and some of these can cause decay, which in the front teeth leads to disfiguring areas of white or brown enamel. If the decay process advances sufficiently to breach the enamel, then an unsightly dark patch results that only your dentist can fix. It is essential not to let decay get a hold in the first place by avoiding too much in the way of sweet foods and drinks.
The best way to clean your teeth is in a systematic and thorough method, using both a toothbrush and dental floss. If you are using an ordinary toothbrush you should first try to dislodge plaque at the gum edge with short, vibratory strokes, followed by longer strokes vertically towards the biting edge of the teeth.
It is best to keep horizontal brush-strokes to the absolute minimum because, over time they cause a surprising amount of tooth abrasion leading to hypersensitivity. If you are using a power brush you simply need to hold it against the teeth for long enough to enable it to brush away plaque, say 10 seconds at each location. Whichever type of brush you�re using you should start at one corner of the mouth and gradually work your way round, giving attention to each surface of each tooth in turn.
It is essential to look in a mirror whilst brushing to ensure you are covering all the teeth. Having brushed, it is time to floss using a small length held taut between the fingers and sliding it upwards from the gum edge to the biting surfaces of the teeth You are trying here, to scrape the plaque off the tooth surfaces and away, so you do not want to make see-sawing movements, but rather a clean, sweeping movement vertically upwards from the gum edge.
This daily routine needs to be done at least once in a day, preferably twice, and may take more time than you realise when you start out to first clean this thoroughly. It becomes easier and quicker with practice though, and is certainly worth it!
The second part of keeping your teeth white is avoiding habits such as smoking because smoke darkens the teeth gradually, (as well as your skin). Foods that are themselves brightly coloured like turmeric can stain teeth quite markedly, so you need to be careful of curries and the like.
Drinks such as tea, coffee, and red wine are also notorious for staining teeth, and are the main culprits for most of us. If you drink your coffee black, then you are especially susceptible to darkened teeth. The good news is that these stains do not become permanent straightaway so, if you are cleaning your teeth really well each day you can remove the stained film before too much of the discolouring compounds have actually penetrated the tooth enamel.
Cleaning your teeth regularly, carefully, and efficiently is the key to keeping your teeth naturally white. If you want to help them out, you can of course use a home whitening kit on an occasional basis, but use a reputable one such as the Zero Peroxide system.