How Your Teeth Stain

More people than ever are looking for tooth whitening options to make their smile look whiter and brighter, and to improve their overall appearance. With so many whitening options, there’s bound to be one right for you.
There are two types of stains that cause discoloration. The first are intrinsic stains that develop inside the tooth enamel. Intrinsic tooth stains can be due to a mother’s antibiotic use while pregnant or childhood exposure to fluoride. Extrinsic tooth stains are the result of drinking beverages such as tea and coffee, age, the development of plaque and tartar or the use of tobacco.

Before begining a home or in-office treatment, it is a good idea to see a dentist to determine the type of stain you have and assist in deciding which option treatment would work best for you.

The options include:

1. Whitening at Home — There are several options in this category of whitening. You can choose over-the-counter toothpastes, mouthwashes, white strips or paint-on gels. Gel trays are popular, but may require a dentist to take an impression of your teeth and to help you select a whitening kit. The expense is less than an office whitening visit.

2. Whitening at the Office — This option may include one to three visits depending on the whitening procedure that you and the dentist choose. It is usually more expensive than the over-the-counter whitening products, but can be more effective. Speak with your dentist to find out which options are available at your clinic.

Whatever your choice may be, think about your options, and consider lifestyle factors that may interfere with the tooth whitening process. Commit yourself to one technique and enjoy a brighter and  whiter smile!

©  2010 Colgate-Palmolive Company

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