Our bodies and our health change with age, a fact of which we all become aware. You may not realize, however, that your teeth are also affected by the passing of years. Maybe you’ve found that you have a harder time keeping your teeth shiny and white as you get older. Even though you’re following the same brushing and flossing routine, it may no longer have the desired effect of maintaining your youthful smile. Perhaps over-the-counter whitening treatments are not removing stains as they once did.
At Manhattan Beach Cosmetic Dentist we find many patients who don’t understand why their teeth are becoming duller and harder to whiten. There are actually a number of reasons dental enamel can change in appearance over the years. Environmental factors contribute to some extent but more often this dulling is part of the natural aging process.
You can remove some stains on the surface of dental enamel with regular flossing and brushing. These stains are often caused by discoloring foods and drinks such as soda, coffee, tea, and red wine which can all leave stains on teeth. Using tobacco products especially can also make enamel appear dark, dull, and discolored. When they are relatively new, these stains can often be removed or effectively bleached away, but will eventually seep into porous enamel, making them difficult to remove.
The teeth of a young person are covered with a thick layer of white enamel, concealing the inner core of the tooth. As you age, this enamel begins to erode, exposing more of the dentin beneath the surface. Dentin is naturally a darker, yellow color so older teeth often appear dull and yellow in comparison to healthy new teeth.
Different teeth whitening options are available depending on your cosmetic goals, the extent of discoloration, and urgency with which you need to see results. There are patients who respond well to professional teeth bleaching treatments developed to lighten discoloration using a solution of hydrogen peroxide. Dental veneers, which completely resurface enamel using thin layers of porcelain, may be a better option for patients with extensive or resistant staining.
It’s impossible to eliminate all dental staining. Your teeth will naturally change appearance and lose some of their luster over time in addition to accumulating environmental stains. But today’s modern cosmetic dentistry can restore the bright and luminous nature of your teeth, resulting in a more youthful looking smile. Call Manhattan Beach Cosmetic Dentistry today to learn more about teeth whitening options or to discuss your situation in greater detail.