Wish you had a whiter healthier smile? This is a common patient “complaint” heard by our Hudsonville cosmetic dentists. Fortunately, we can help. Many of our patients have the most success with improved oral hygiene routines, custom teeth whitening trays, and diet changes. Here are a few ways you can work towards a brighter smile at home and in our Hudsonville dental office. If You Want to Achieve Whiter Teeth, You Should: Avoid Staining Foods and Drinks If you want to keep a naturally white smile, you’ll need to limit certain foods and drinks. Coffee is one of the biggest culprits behind tooth discoloration. While we understand that coffee provides that much-needed boost of energy as you’re trying to get out the door, it can also stain teeth over time. Even if you don’t stop drinking coffee completely, you might want to cut down on how much you drink each day. Other foods or drinks that stain teeth include red wine, tea, tomato sauce, berries or fruit juices, and dark cola. Brush and Floss Daily Plaque is an invisible film of bacteria that lives on your teeth. Over time, plaque buildup can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Hardened plaque (tartar) can also give your teeth a yellow or brown-colored tinge. One of the best ways to protect your white smile is to brush at least twice a day and floss once daily. Most dentists, including ours, agree that you’ll need to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes at a time and tend to every tooth surface. If we still find plenty of plaque and tartar on your teeth, we may recommend adding a fluoride mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine. Schedule Your Teeth Cleaning While beneficial, brushing and flossing your teeth at home isn’t enough to fully protect oral health. You’ll also need to make sure you schedule a teeth cleaning with our office every 6 months to remove plaque and tartar from teeth. Keep in mind that only a dental professional can remove tartar from teeth. If you have a lot of tartar buildup, your smile will look slightly whiter after your appointment. That’s because our dental hygienist will use a tool called a scaler to gently scrape plaque and tartar from teeth. Get Professional Teeth Whitening Interested in teeth whitening at home? Our dentists may recommend custom teeth whitening trays to help you achieve a whiter smile. First, we’ll need to take impressions of your teeth to send to the lab. When you come back for your second appointment, your teeth whitening tray will be ready. Our cosmetic dentists may slightly adjust the fit of your tray so it fits comfortably. We also offer in-office professional teeth whitening if you prefer that option instead. Ask about Dental Crowns and Veneers Each smile is different. If you only need to improve the shade of one tooth, our dentists may recommend dental crowns or porcelain veneers. A dental crown covers the entire visible portion of your tooth above the gum line and can be placed in two appointments. However, our dentists may recommend porcelain veneers to save as much natural tooth structure as possible. Veneers are wafer-thin porcelain shells we bond to the fronts of your teeth that show when you smile or talk. Be Skeptical of Natural Home Remedies We've all heard of the pure and natural teeth whitening methods that are designed to lighten up your smile in no time. Some solutions are more far-fetched than others and very few have been shown to have a positive effect on the color of your teeth. Natural teeth whitening methods to be wary of include: \tRubbing acidic fruits or fruit peels (lemons, oranges, etc.) on your teeth to remove dark stains. \tPracticing oil pulling and swishing coconut oil around in your mouth to lift yellow stains. \tBrushing your teeth with a mixture of baking soda and water. \tUsing any oral care product involving charcoal as a main ingredient. Whereas professional teeth whitening from our Hudsonville dental office is safe for your enamel, natural remedies can often cause damage to that part of your tooth. For instance, if acidic fruits or fruit peels are used deliberately, the enamel will soften and can wear away. Our cosmetic dentists instead use safe, but powerful whitening gel to brighten your smile. The gel is also dental-grade and has been proven to efficiently whiten teeth that are discolored. Get Those Pearly Whites Today Our cosmetic dentists in Hudsonville, MI, will help you explore your options to determine the best way to whiten teeth. To schedule your appointment at Hudsonville Dental, call us today at (616) 209-4024. This blog has been updated.