Woman holding mug with text that reads "Do's and Don'ts for a Whiter Smile"

11 Do’s And Don’ts for a Whiter Smile

When the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) asked people what they would most like to improve about their smile, a whiter smile was the overwhelming response.  A whiter, brighter smile gives the impression of youth and good health. As we age, the outer enamel of the teeth gets thinner so that yellowish dentin shows through. Teeth become darker, yellow, and more stained. Certain foods and beverages also undermine a white smile by staining teeth.

The American Dental Association (AACD) and celebrity dentist Jonathan B. Levine, DMD, offer several suggestions for whiter teeth. Follow these tips to achieve a more dazzling, engaging smile.


1. Avoid foods and beverages that stain teeth. Coffee, red wine, cola, tea, and cranberry juice are the main offenders. Soy sauce and blueberries can also stain teeth.

Smiling woman holding cup of coffee

2. Drink staining beverages from a straw. Drinking from a straw reduces the amount of contact staining liquid has with teeth.

Close-up of a woman drinking lemonade with a straw

3. Brush immediately after consuming a staining food or beverage.

Boy with braces brushing his teeth

4. Rinse after eating acidic fruits to prevent erosion of tooth enamel which can make teeth stain more easily.

Woman sipping water

5. Eat an apple or raw vegetable after consuming a staining food or beverage to help remove surface stains.

Healthy woman eating an apple

6. Replace your toothbrush every three months to clean properly and floss to prevent stains between teeth.

Old Toothbrush

7. Avoid certain lipstick colors. Dr. Levine cautions that red with a blue undertone will highlight yellow tones in teeth. Try a medium coral instead.

Woman applying red lipstick

8. Choose off-white clothing. Dr. Levine also finds that bright white clothing near the face makes teeth appear more yellow. This is especially important for brides or anyone selecting an outfit for a photo session.

Woman in rustic vintage California wedding dress

9. Avoid smoking. Tar and nicotine cause significant yellowing.

Young girl blowing a cloud of smoke

10. Consider cosmetic whitening. An overwhelming number of over-the-counter whitening toothpastes, gels, trays, and strips are on the market. While inexpensive, they are not as effective as in-office whitening because they remove stains rather than change the color of teeth. Also, the trays often fit poorly.

Woman smiles and points at teeth

11. Consult your dentist about in-office whitening. Bleach may not correct all discoloration issues. Some medications can cause discoloration. Yellow teeth respond better to bleaching than brown or gray teeth. Whitening may not be for you if you have caps, crowns, or fillings. If you are a candidate for whitening, your dentist can use stronger bleaching agents than over-the-counter products and may also use special light or laser. Your dentist can also send you home with properly fitted trays so you can maintain your new, whiter smile.

Teeth whitening

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

The American Dental Association (ADA) established National Children’s Dental Health Month over thirty years ago to promote the benefits starting young to achieve good oral health.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the country.  Tooth decay affects more children than asthma or hay fever. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 40% of children will have some tooth decay by the time they enter kindergarten. The good news for parents is that tooth decay is preventable!

The following recommendations will get your child off to a great start with good dental health.

  • Brush and floss twice each day

The best weapons available to a parent are a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. The ADA recommends that parents teach their children to brush for two minutes two times a day—morning and evening at bedtime. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and teach your child to avoid swallowing toothpaste.  Parents should provide help and supervision until a child is about seven or eight years old.

  • Limit sugary treats and drinks

This includes avoiding juice between meals. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends limiting juice to four to six ounces per day. Parents can also replace sugary treats with healthy snacks such as cheese, yogurt, and fruit.

  • Schedule a dental checkup

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents schedule their child’s first visit to the dentist when the child turns one year of age. First birthday equals first checkup.  However, if a parent detects discoloration or staining, they should schedule an appointment right away.

  • Make sure your water has fluoride

Fluoride helps teeth resist acid attacks by strengthening tooth enamel. If your local water supply does not have fluoride, talk to your dentist about fluoride drops or tablets.

National Children’s Dental Health Month is a good reminder that it’s never too early to start your child on the path of good dental health. Habits developed early tend to become lifelong habits.

An Apple A Day May Keep the Doctor and The Dentist Away!

Apples have long been associated with a healthy smile. It takes strong, healthy teeth to bite into a crunchy apple. That’s why you’ll be offered an apple when you visit your Stonehaven Dental office.

You’ve heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. It may also be true that an apple a day keeps the dentist away.  Children have a natural sweet tooth that draws them to sugary snacks and chewy candy that can stick to the teeth.  Tooth decay results when cavity-causing organisms feed on this sugar and turn it into enamel-eroding acid. Apples are naturally sweet and offer a healthy alternative to processed, sugary snacks packed with nutrient-deficient calories.

Apples have other advantages over sugary snacks and even over many other fruits.

  • Apples are portable and can be packed in a lunch box with no refrigeration needed.
  • Apples can satisfy a sugar craving at ¼ the calories of candy or chocolate.
  • Apples are packed with Vitamin C which is great for the immune system.
  • Apples have flavonoids with antioxidant properties that guard against heart disease.
  • Apples have been shown to lower bad cholesterol and may have cancer-fighting benefits.
  • Apples come in many varieties of taste and color. If you don’t like a Granny Smith apple, have a Gala, a Honeycrisp, a Golden Delicious, or many others!

A healthy diet means healthier teeth.  At your next visit to a Stonehaven Dental office, you’ll leave with an apple and a healthier smile!

So Many Brands, So Little Time!

Since Crest toothpaste became the first toothpaste to receive the American Dental Association’s Seal of Approval in 1960, more than 400 toothpastes have shown up on retail store shelves.  Every brand offers multiple sizes, flavors, and specialties. Buying a simple tube of toothpaste is not so simple.

Toothpaste is a daily essential, or should be, in every household. Toothpaste improves the cleaning power of your toothbrush by helping to remove plaque, the film of bacteria on teeth and gums that contributes to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

Most toothpaste contains detergents that cause a foaming action to remove food particles.  Some add abrasives to help remove stains or flavoring to improve taste.  Beyond that there are baking soda toothpaste, natural toothpaste, gels, desensitizing toothpaste, breath-freshening toothpaste, and many more. With so many choices, what’s a shopper to do?

  • Look for fluoride

The fluoride in toothpaste strengthens tooth enamel which helps prevent tooth decay.  Fluoride also works to remineralize teeth worn by acid.

  • Look for the ADA Seal

The American Dental Association evaluates toothpastes for safety and effectiveness. All toothpastes with the ADA Seal contain fluoride.

  • Evaluate special claims

Many manufacturers have specialty products in their line that make certain claims. You should know that whitening toothpaste doesn’t really whiten teeth but contains abrasives or chemicals to remove tooth stains.  Tartar control toothpaste doesn’t remove existing tartar; only a dentist can do that. Instead, the product helps prevent tartar from accumulating.

  • Consult your dentist

 

Based on the results of your dental exam, your dentist can determine if a special product is necessary. If there are no specific concerns, most dentists advise their patients to choose a brand they like because they will be more likely to use it regularly.

Dental resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions to Smile About

Did you know that the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions started with the Babylonians 4000 years ago? Since the Babylonian New Year coincided with the planting of new crops, their most common resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment. That’s probably not one of your resolutions, but there is something about that blank calendar or planner that makes the start of a new year a logical time for a fresh start.

Today the most common resolutions have to do with health issues such as losing weight, exercising more, or eating healthy. Here are four resolutions that will improve your dental health in the coming year.

  • Schedule your dental checkup

    Even if you’re not having any dental problems, call your dentist at the first of the year to schedule an appointment. Use your new calendar or planner to record the date.

  • Commit to brushing and flossing

    Most of us brush twice a day but often neglect to make flossing part of our daily routine. Just as you keep your toothbrush easily accessible on the bathroom counter, put the floss where you will see it when you brush your teeth.

  • Reduce your sugar intake

    Reducing the amount of sugary foods and beverages you consume can reduce your risk for tooth decay. Start with easy substitutions like sugar-free gum and replace sodas with water. Add more dairy products and high-fiber foods to your diet. Your waistline will also benefit!

  • Stop smoking

    Most of us know the health risks associated with smoking, but we may not be aware of the increased risk for gum disease. Use your new calendar to schedule healthy activities to help take your mind off the cravings. Enlist the help of your family and friends. Look forward to the day you can write “Tobacco Free” on your calendar!

Studies show that it can take thirty days before a new habit becomes routine so don’t give up.  Commit to these resolutions for your dental health one day at a time!

The Ultimate Guide to Dental Hygiene

“Numerous recent scientific studies indicate associations between oral health and a variety of general health conditions — including diabetes and heart disease.” (- American Dental Association)

Whoa! You probably know that brushing your teeth is a good idea, but many people don’t realize just how important dental hygiene is. Since October is National Dental Hygiene Month (#NDHM15), we thought there was no better time than now to spread the word and make sure you have this handy guide to keep your teeth and mouth in tip-top shape!

Ultimate Guide to Dental Hygiene infographic

 

So, to recap, for optimal dental hygiene, just remember:

  1. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day
  2. Floss Daily
  3. Rinse With Mouthwash
  4. Chew Sugar-Free Gum After Meals

 

It’s that easy!

 

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