In a world consumed with selfies, photo filters, and high definition, people are under a lot of pressure to look perfect. A smile is often the first facial feature to be noticed – after all, it takes up one-third of your face! In fact, 47% of Americans say that a smile is the most important physical attribute in making someone attractive.
Despite the pressure to look good, many people are unhappy with their smiles. This dissatisfaction leads to feelings of self-consciousness and a lack of confidence.
All of the above has led to a rise in cosmetic dentistry and professional teeth whitening. Tooth discoloration is a common complaint in dental practices across the country, with lifestyle choices contributing to yellow teeth. Extrinsic stains can be fixed, but unless patients break bad habits, their smiles will continue to suffer.
Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 culprits of teeth staining and how you can help your patients improve their smiles and feel their best:
- Smoking and Tobacco Use-This habit is not only the leading cause of tooth discoloration but also contributes to other serious oral hygiene issues. Tobacco products affect gum tissue by weakening enamel which contributes to yellowing. These stains can’t be removed with regular brushing and usually require professional treatment. There are so many reasons to quit smoking, with the benefit of a whiter smile being one of them. Don’t be afraid to address smoking addiction and offer patients resources to help them quit for good.
- Soft Drinks-Do your patients crave that midday sugar fix? Remind them that each soda they consume has approximately ten teaspoons of sugar, negatively impacting their pearly whites. But it’s not just sugar -- citric and phosphoric acid erode enamel, making it weak and more vulnerable to staining. It’s surprising how many patients are unaware of how harmful soft drinks are to their teeth.
- Candy-High sugar content, along with added food coloring and flavors, can make candy a major contributor to tooth discoloration. Hard candy and chewy treats are particularly harmful due to their texture and the time they take to consume. Be sure to educate both adults and pediatric patients on the importance of staying away from these sticky culprits.
- Black Tea, Coffee, and Red Wine-If a drink can stain a white t-shirt, it can also stain your teeth. These beverages all contain tannins that are naturally dark in color and cling to tooth enamel. This residue can remain on teeth for up to an hour, eventually causing a variety of issues including tooth discoloration. If patients must consume these drinks, recommend that they use a straw to reduce contact with their teeth. Patients can also use teeth whitening GLO Vials to brush on whitening gel right after consumption and instantly remove stains before they set.
- Poor Oral Hygiene-No matter how much your patients stay away from the usual staining suspects; poor hygiene will wreak havoc on their oral health and lead to further discoloration. Patient compliance is essential, so stress the importance of brushing, flossing, and a good daily mouthwash to avoid the weakening of enamel and tooth stains.
Tooth discoloration can be an embarrassing problem, but there are simple changes patients can make to help. In many cases, simple avoidance and routine dental maintenance can restore their smiles.
- Brushing and flossing daily is key – adding products like GLO Science’s ECO Balance gum health treatment can help give their hygiene an extra boost and has a gentle whitening benefit as well
- Drinking extra water after beverages that cause discoloration can help
- Straws can reduce the amount of contact teeth have with stain-causing beverages
In addition, the professional teeth whitening services you can offer in your practice can refresh your patients’ smiles in less than an hour, making an instant impact and giving patients the inspiration they need to make other positive lifestyle changes that will benefit their overall oral health.
Patients don’t have to give up on things they love, but as with most things in life, moderation is key. Making small changes can lead to a brighter, whiter smile they’ll feel good about both now and in the future.