For most people, it’s understood that teeth generally become more discolored — and more yellow — with age. Over the years, external factors combine to gradually darken and discolor the teeth.
But is there a way that yellow teeth could somehow be avoided? Or is tooth discoloration simply an inevitable part of getting older?
Unfortunately, there is often nothing one can do to avoid tooth discoloration over the course of one’s lifetime. According to a New York Times QandA, at least two structural changes take place within the teeth over time to make them appear more yellow with age. As we age, our enamel — the tooth’s outer protective coating — grows thinner, while our dentin — the layer beneath the enamel — grows thicker.
The thinning of enamel is often precipitated by the consumption of acidic foods and drinks. This process gradually reveals more of the dentin’s natural yellow-brown color. Additionally, when the enamel is worn away, the teeth are more vulnerable to discoloration from outside coloring agents.
Depending on your genetics, these effects over time may be more or less apparent. Some people have thicker enamel than others, and the color of dentin varies from person to person, as well.
However, there are a few things you can do to reduce the yellowing of your teeth over time. By reducing your sugar consumption and cutting back on alcohol, tobacco and acidic foods, you can keep your teeth whiter for longer.
Many people also turn to professional cosmetic dental technologies like teeth whitening in order to reverse the yellowing process. Over the last five years, the number of teeth whitening procedures has shot up by an amazing 300%, with $1.4 billion being spent on teeth whitening products every year. Dental veneers are also an option to make teeth appear whiter — not surprisingly, the use of veneers has risen by more than 250% over the last five years as well.
Having discolored teeth can be a huge blow to anyone’s confidence. With today’s dental technologies, however, there’s no reason why you can’t feel as confident with your smile as you should.
Have any other questions or comments about anything from cosmetic dentistry to dental cleanings at a regular dentist office? Get the conversation going by leaving a comment below.
May 5, 2015 in Blog
Dental technologies are changing on a near-daily basis. Everywhere you look, there seems to be new, innovative technology being introduced that makes dental cleanings easier and your teeth more beautiful.
With 99.7% of all Americans saying a smile is a highly-important social asset — and 75% of Americans saying an unattractive smile could even damage one’s chances for a successful career — it’s no surprise that dentists are always looking for better ways to treat their patients’ teeth.
But despite constant innovations in the dental industry, however, we’re still brushing our teeth like people did in the 1800s — with a manual toothbrush and some toothpaste.
Recently, Japanese designer Kosho Ueshima set out to change this — developing a toothbrush that uses advanced nanotechnology to clean plaque and tartar from teeth without requiring toothpaste. It might just be the last electric toothbrush you’ll ever need to buy.
How does it work?
According to Digital Trends, Ueshima, along with nanotechnology company Yumeshokunin Co. LTD, developed specially-engineered bristles coated in nanosized mineral ions. As you brush your teeth, these ions are transferred from the bristles to your teeth, removing stains and forming a coating over your teeth that protects them from plaque and other enamel-harming substances.
This kind of technology obviously offers major cost savings by removing the need for toothpaste. Even better, the fact that the special bristles remove stains from the teeth takes away the need for tooth whitening products and procedures, two things on which Americans spend $1.4 billion every year.
However, the fragile bristles and their nanocoating of ions eventually wear off. After about a month of regular use, this toothbrush would have to be replaced: not the most cost-effective or eco-friendly solution. Hopefully future versions of the toothbrush are able to last longer!
Digital Trends reports that the nano-toothbrush is expected to be available in the European market sometime later this year.
What are your thoughts on this innovative toothbrush? Have any other questions or comments on new dental technologies or cosmetic dentistry in general? Let us know in the comments below.
Question: Even with regular dental cleanings and annual trips to the local dentist office, it seems like maintaining proper dental hygiene is harder in practice than it seems. Are there any tricks to help patients keep their teeth healthy in between professional dental cleanings?
It goes without saying that the best way to keep teeth healthy in between dental cleanings is simply to create a routine at home and stick to it — it’s important to make sure that you brush and floss everyday, at the very least.
It’s also important to realize that you could be hurting the health of your teeth and gums without even realizing it. Here are just a couple examples of how a seemingly harmless habit can really affect your oral health:
It’s never too late to start taking better care of your teeth, and it’s always important to see your dentist regularly for dental cleanings. You certainly aren’t alone if you really think that a clean, white smile is incredibly important — in fact, an estimated 75% of adults today think that an attractive smile is essential for career success, and it never hurts to have that extra boost of confidence knowing that your teeth are clean and healthy. There’s no such thing as being too careful or proactive when it comes to taking care of your teeth!
A nine-year-old entrepreneur who came up with the idea for a tooth-friendly lollipop made with healthy ingredients is making headlines for her emerging company.
According to a February 24 Entrepreneur article, the young Alina Morse came up with the idea for Zollipops, a treat just as likely to be seen in a dentist office as it is in a Whole Foods, after her dad warned her not to eat a lollipop given to her by a bank teller.
“My dad always told me that I should not eat candy, because sugar is terrible for your teeth,” Morse explained. “I asked my dad if we could make a healthy sucker that was good for your teeth.”
To create the ingredients list for a lollipop that would make dental cleanings and dental exams headache-free for both kids and their dentists, Morse and her dad consulted with local dentists and hygienists, and did plenty of online and in-store research. Zollipops contain no sugar — the ingredient responsible for tooth decay in millions of mouths of all ages.
Nowadays, Zollipops are sold at Whole Foods Markets, a chain of natural food stores, and are available at a growing number of dental practices. How does Morse balance a rapidly-growing business with her school and social life?
“By splitting my time after school, one third for homework, one third for business updates or projects and one third for organizing and playing with my sister,” she told Entrepreneur.
Over the last few years, demand for more teeth-friendly foods has risen as a result of studies showing how important an attractive smile is. Almost everyone — 99.7% of people — believe that a smile is one of the most important social assets; an amazing 75% of people say that an unattractive smile can be harmful for career success. This might be why teeth whitening procedures have risen in popularity by 300% in the last five years — and why entrepreneurs like Morse are looking for ways to make candy less damaging to teeth.
Morse isn’t stopping at merely selling Zollipops to encourage dental health among her age group, however. According to aCandy Industry article, she plans to give 10% of Zollipops’ profit to support dental education in schools across the country.
What are your thoughts on Zollipops? Have any other questions for us about how to find a dentist office or on eating the right foods for your teeth? Feel free to share and ask by leaving a comment below.
There are plenty of reasons the average person might make dental exams and appointments a priority: for one, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry reports that 99.7% of Americans believe a smile is an important social asset, while 75% of people fear an unattractive smile could hinder their professional success. Moreover, visiting a dentist office for even relatively common procedures can have life-changing effects: correcting misaligned teeth, for example, can prevent lifelong periodontal problems and severe tooth wear, including premature tooth loss. However, a family in Oklahoma recently discovered yet another reason to prioritize trips to their neighborhood family dentistry: their local dentist helped save their 11-year old daughter’s life.
The Woodard family told the Washington Post that they almost cancelled their six-month cleaning appointment. However, they dutifully made the trip to their neighborhood family dentistry practice with their four children, including their 11-year old daughter, Journee. During her cleaning, the dental hygienist and dentist noticed that Journee’s eyes were extremely yellow, a sign of jaundice. The dentist urged her mother to seek medical attention as soon as possible. When the family attended an appointment a few days later, it was revealed that Journee had a grapefruit-sized tumor on her pancreas, which needed to be removed immediately. Doctors told the family they were lucky: Journee was reportedly one basketball game away from rupturing the tumor.
While it isn’t always a well-known service, the best family dentists will often be able to detect signs of a variety of conditions in their early stages, including high blood pressure, diabetes and HIV, in addition to preventing and treating a number of oral health problems. In the Woodwards’ case, this ability gave them the sign they needed: Journee’s earlier symptoms, which included mild nausea and burping, were misinterpreted as minor ailments which had abated by the time of her appointment.
Currently, Journee has returned home following her surgery, where her family and doctors say she is recovering exceptionally well. As for their dentist, the Woodwards say they’re patients for life. If you needed a reason to attend your next check up at your neighborhood family dentistry practice, consider this a sign.
You know about the importance of visiting your dentist twice yearly for regular dental cleanings and checkups — but what about your pet? It’s something we don’t often think about, but our cats and dogs have very similar dental hygiene needs to us — but they aren’t able to brush or floss their own teeth. While the average cosmetic dentistry patient spends anywhere between $5,000 to $6,000 on improving their smiles, most people spend $0 on making sure their pets’ teeth are healthy.
As a result, a stunning 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will display signs of dental disease or decay before they reach three years old. And unlike people, pets are unable to take advantage of peroxide-based teeth whiteners, veneers or dental implants to help correct the effects of dental disease.
To help combat these statistics, the American Veterinary Dental Society has named the month of February National Pet Dental Health Month to help encourage pet owners to bring their cats and dogs to the veterinarian’s office for dental cleanings.
Here are three things you can do to help your pet’s dental hygiene throughout the month of February:
Feed your pet the right diet
Much like with our own dental health, our pets’ diets play a big role in how healthy their teeth are. The right pet food should help fight plaque and tartar build-up, not contribute to it. Be sure to give your cat or dog high-quality, additive-free pet food that’s right for his or her age, size and breed.
Regularly inspect your pet’s teeth
You can tell a lot about your pet’s dental health by simply looking at his or her teeth. Your pet should have white teeth, light-pink gums that aren’t swollen, and relatively fresh breath. Loose teeth, bumps on the tongue and discolored gums are all signs of concern.
Ask your pet’s veterinarian to perform regular dental cleanings and exams
You should already be bringing your cat or dog to the veterinarian twice a year. At these regular checkups, ask your veterinarian to give your pet a dental cleaning as well. This allows your pet to get a professional teeth cleaning and helps the veterinarian detect signs of disease or complications in your pet’s teeth.
Have any other questions for us on finding a dentist office, or about cosmetic dentistry? Get the conversation going — feel free to ask us anything by leaving a comment below!
Many of us know that consuming too many sugary foods and beverages can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease and a slew of other complications.
But there are other foods and drinks that aren’t necessarily sugar-laden, but still take a significant toll on your dental health and the appearance of your teeth. As a result, your diet might be harming your teeth without you even knowing it! With the popularity of teeth whitening procedures rising by more than 300% in the last five years, and 75% of people reporting feeling that an unattractive smile is harmful to one’s success, you can’t afford to let your diet have an adverse impact on your teeth.
Which foods should you be avoiding? To make sure your dental cleanings are quick, easy and cavity-free, the American Dental Association recommends that you avoid these foods — or enjoy them in moderation:
As stated before, too much exposure to sugary foods leaves your teeth highly vulnerable to decay. Because hard candies stay in your mouth for at least an hour before dissolving, they are able to do even more damage. And before you bite down on a hard candy, beware — biting down on hard foods like these can lead to emergencies like broken, chipped or fractured teeth.
Too many citrus fruits
Citrus fruits — lemons, limes and oranges — are all great dietary choices for the health-conscious dieter. They’re rich in vitamins and fiber, and are low in calories. Sadly, eating too much citrus throughout the day could be harmful. In addition to the high sugar content of citrus fruits, they’re also packed with citric acid — which eats away at your teeth’s natural protective layer of enamel. Enjoy citrus fruits in moderation, and drink plenty of water to offset their effects on your teeth.
Sticky foods don’t just include taffy and other candies — dried fruit can also stick to teeth, exposing them to sugar longer. When snacking on trail mix or dried fruits like raisins and cranberries, be sure to drink lots of water in addition to frequently brushing and flossing your teeth. Your dentist will appreciate your efforts at your subsequent dental cleanings!
This one isn’t really a food — but many people have a habit of chewing on ice. It’s a habit that jeopardizes your teeth every time you bite down. Chewing on ice damages the enamel of your teeth, and can even break or chip your teeth in certain cases. If you can’t break your ice habit, simply suck on an ice cube — no chewing! — or drink some chilled water.
Have any other questions or comments for us on how to find a local dentist office or what to expect during dental exams and dental cleanings? Share all your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Tooth decay is one of the most common dental ailments and can affect anyone. There are a few different things that can cause tooth decay, but preventing it really comes down to practicing good hygiene and seeing a dentist regularly. Here are four of the main risk factors for tooth decay.
1. Poor Hygiene
One of the biggest risk factors for tooth decay is, of course, poor dental hygiene. It’s important to practice good dental hygiene routines. Brushing should be done at the very least twice a day with a good toothbrush. Flossing should be done frequently as well, to reduce the chances of tooth decay between teeth, and rinsing with an alcohol-based mouthwash can help clean the hard-to-reach areas. Furthermore, getting regular professional dental cleanings is essential.
2. Misaligned Teeth
Another risk factor for tooth decay is misaligned teeth. Severely crooked teeth can be tough to clean, since there might be more tight spaces and harder to reach areas between and around the teeth where food can get trapped. The more food gets trapped, the more plaque there will be, which leads to tooth decay. This is another reason getting regular dental cleanings is important — dentists have the right scaling tools and ability to get into the really hard-to-reach areas and clean plaque.
3. Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is actually another really common risk factor for tooth decay. A sufficient amount of saliva is important for preventing tooth decay, since it helps wash away plaque and food particles. If a person’s mouth is not producing enough saliva, this could leave food and plaque lingering in the mouth to cause or contribute to decay.
Another contributor to tooth decay is genetics. The shape and size of teeth really depends on the genetic factors that a person gets from his or her parents. Genetics can also cause the darkening of teeth. Getting regular dental exams and professional dental cleanings can help keep teeth clean and prevent any decay from happening in deep pits of teeth or between teeth that are situated closely together.
There are a number of different options for people who have even very advanced tooth decay. Though they may seem like an unpleasant option, there are a number of different types of dentures and other dental technologies for people who suffer from tooth decay. Dental implants have been shown to be 98% successful, and are a permanent option for the correction of missing teeth.
Do you have any questions about the common causes of tooth decay or how to prevent it from happening? Feel free to ask in the comments section below.
Over the summer and fall of 2014 Kirkland Dentistry hosted a special refer-a-friend program for charity. Each time an existing patient referred someone, a contribution was earmarked for the Hopelink End Summer Hunger Campaign.
Thanks to your support we recently presented Hopelink with a check for $1000.
David Richardson DDS at Hopelink
Hopelink created the End Summer Hunger Campaign to provide parents with help feeding their children over the summer when the school discounted lunch program is not available. We are thrilled that our patients joined with us to provide community support to the campaign.
Please consider making a donation to Hopelink during their winter holiday campaign. Your gift will give children an opportunity to experience fond holiday memories, while ensuring that they have shelter, food and warmth throughout the winter. Click to visit Hopelink’s Donation Page.
A new study shows that humans aren’t the only ones who benefit by wearing various types of dentures to replace missing teeth.
According to a Dec. 3 The Cattle Site article, Argentinian researchers found that cows that wore false teeth were healthier and lived longer than those that didn’t. Cattle dentures also helped increase the number of calves per cow, due to the cows living longer.
Outfitting cattle with dentures also had no negative impact on pregnancy rates, body weight or condition, the National Institute for Agriculture and Livestock Technology (INTA) study found. In fact, no detrimental health effects were found among the cattle that had dentures at all.
According to The Cattle Site, the cows’ dentures need replacing around the five-year mark, with slight variations occurring due to pasture type, water quality and other factors. Researchers affixed the dentures inside the cows’ mouths with a special bovine denture glue.
No word yet on how much these cattle dentures cost — but it’s probably safe to say that these dentures cost a little more than human dentures prices! However, they allow each cow to enjoy a longer lifespan, which can help farmers save money in the long run.
Dentures have plenty of health benefits for people, too. They help maintain a person’s face shape and prevent it from sagging inward due to missing teeth, which can make a person appear older. They also act as a vital aid for eating and speaking along with offering a boost in one’s self-confidence.
Considering the health benefits that a set of dentures can offer both humans and cows, it’s clear they’re a great choice for anyone who no longer has all their natural teeth.
Have any questions about getting dentures of your own or finding a dentist office that’s right for you? Go ahead and ask by leaving a comment below this article.