The Dallas, TX General Dentist knows that one of your teeth's best defenses against tooth decay is its hard, outer layer made of a mineral-rich substance known as enamel. This great protector, however, has an enemy — acid — from the foods and drinks we consume as well as the acid byproducts from bacterial plaque.

Why Acid is a Problem for your Teeth

A high acidic level in the mouth could lead to the complete erosion of enamel, leaving teeth more susceptible to tooth decay. When the acid level in the mouth rises, calcium and other minerals in enamel become soft and begin to slough off, a process called de-mineralization. But the body can reverse this process with the help of saliva, which can neutralize acid.

Saliva also contains calcium that can bind to the tooth surface and help replace what was lost during de-mineralization — a process known as re-mineralization. Saliva can normally accomplish this in thirty minutes to an hour after eating.

Tips for Protecting Your Teeth From Damage

Unfortunately, saliva's neutralizing power can be overwhelmed when there is too much acid present. This occurs when we ingest substances like sodas or sports drinks that are high in citric acid. Many of these same beverages also have a high buffering capacity that slows the neutralizing effect of saliva.

Ironically, we can also interrupt re-mineralization if we brush our teeth too quickly after eating or drinking something acidic. The enamel has been softened by the acid and when we brush before re-mineralization we can actually brush away some of the enamel. 

Fortunately, our dentist offers some steps you can take to help this natural process for maintaining a healthy pH balance in the mouth.

  • First, limit your intake of acidic foods and beverages.
  • Drink water for rehydration, or at least acidic beverages enriched with calcium.
  • If you do drink an acidic beverage use a straw to reduce acid contact with teeth, try not to swish it around in your mouth, and try to drink it during mealtime.
  • Finally, wait 30 to 60 minutes before brushing your teeth after eating or drinking something acidic.

Tooth enamel is a key component in maintaining healthy teeth. Protecting this prime defense against decay will pay you dividends for many years to come. If you would like more information on enamel erosion, please contact the Dallas, TX General Dentist or schedule an appointment for a consultation. 

A teeth whitening treatment performed at our Dallas, TX Teeth Whitening Dentist office can really give your smile a boost for any special event. It's an easy way to brighten up your smile and enhance and lighten the color of your teeth. We offer options to help whiten discolored teeth, but it’s always helpful to be aware of factors that impact the whiteness of your smile.

The Aging Process

Our teeth naturally become worn and somewhat discolored as we age. Dental enamel will become slightly pitted and worn over time no matter how much care you take with your oral hygiene.

This fact causes our teeth to become more prone to discoloration as stains can more easily penetrate porous surface enamel. Contributing to the yellow appearance of the teeth is the fact that as enamel wears away dentin within the tooth begins to show through.

Ineffective Dental Hygiene

By not maintaining proper oral hygiene, you may be compromising the bright color of your teeth. Lack of effective at-home oral hygiene will always result in yellowing of the teeth and lead to other major dental problems as well. Regular trips to the dentist for exams and cleanings are the best way to be sure your oral hygiene is up to par.

Genetics

There is little that can be done to change our inherent physical make up, and it's a fact that certain people have teeth with a yellowish hue. This is simply a result of the fact that the outer layer of dental enamel has a more translucent quality, causing the dentin beneath to seem more obvious.

Stain-Producing Foods

Some foods and other consumables contribute to the discoloration of dental enamel, such as red wine, tobacco products, dark fruit juices or sodas (like cola). It is not necessary or even recommended that you cut out all these foods completely. But you will have a better chance of maintaining a healthy white smile if you remember to brush or at least rinse your mouth after ingesting these products.

Great first impressions are created with a beautiful white smile. Greeting the world with a fresh, bright smile can also boost your self confidence. Our Dallas, TX Teeth Whitening Dentist provides several teeth whitening options that bring back the beauty of your teeth and give you a smile that you can be proud of.

Shopping for teeth whitening products these days can be overwhelming. All products claim to provide dramatic results, but are all the claims true? Some of these over-the-counter products can be quite costly, but do they deliver results that are worth the price?

Here’s a breakdown of some of the products available, and their effectiveness:

Whitening Strips
Teeth whitening strips purchased at your local pharmacy do offer some level of whitening because of their peroxide-based whitening agent but do have drawbacks. The peroxide used is not nearly as strong as that safely used by the Dallas, TX Teeth Whitening Dentist.

Also, whitening strips are one-size-fits-all and have limited contact with the surface of your tooth enamel, not the spaces in between your teeth. They can slowly remove some stains, but it may take months and a significant investment to see noticeable results.

Teeth Whitening Rinses
Teeth whitening rinses are similar to a mouthwash and are effective for killing bacteria, removing some plaque and refreshing your breath. Unlike mouthwashes, though, they also contain hydrogen peroxide.

The directions instruct you to rinse twice daily for one minute each. They advise that it may take up to 12 weeks to see any results. Our patients have told our dentist that they see little or no difference after use. This is probably due to the fact that the rinse barely comes into contact with your teeth for a couple minutes each time it’s used.

Teeth Whitening Gels
Over-the-counter whitening gels are clear, peroxide-based gels that you apply directly to the surface of your teeth. Instructions call for twice-daily use for two weeks. Used properly you may see results in a few days, with final results lasting about four months. The drawback to this product is that proper application is difficult because the surface of your teeth must be completely free of saliva before use in order for the gel to be effective

Whether you choose a home whitening treatment or a quick and effective in-office whitening system such as Zoom or Boost, always consult with your dentist first. Our Dallas, TX Teeth Whitening Dentist will examine your teeth to make sure there are no underlying oral health issues that may be negatively impacted through the use of over-the-counter whitening agents.

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