Quitting smoking is a huge accomplishment. Even if you know that it's a bad habit that's bad for your health, it's hard to give up something so addictive. If you've managed to kick the tobacco habit, you'll notice that the health benefits of giving up tobacco start right away – you'll notice an improvement in your ability to breathe or a reduction in how often you cough soon after becoming smoke-free. However, the effects of smoking on your looks – like the yellow and brown stains that cigarettes can leave on your teeth – can be harder to get rid of, even if you brush and floss regularly. Take a look at some tips to help you get your white teeth back.
Visit Your Dentist
If you haven't been to the dentist in a while, it's probably time for a checkup. Most people should see a dentist twice a year, and smokers should really visit more often, because smoking is linked to various oral health problems, including gum disease. So before you start thinking about tooth whitening, get a checkup to make sure your mouth is healthy.
A good cleaning and polishing from your dentist may help get rid of some or all of the stains, depending on how serious they are. If your dentist has an ultrasonic cleaning machine, that can also help remove stains too.
Explore Whitening Options
Even after cleaning and polishing your teeth, you may still have stubborn stains, or teeth that are yellower than you'd like. If your teeth and gums get a clean bill of health from your dentist, you can begin exploring your whitening options.
If you only have mild stains or yellowing, you may be satisfied with home remedies, like brushing with a paste made from baking soda and peroxide, or over the counter whitening gels, trays, or strips. However, these treatments can only provide so much whitening, and they tend to work slowly. If you're interested in fast results or very bright white teeth, you'll want to talk to a cosmetic dentist about in-office whitening treatments.
A cosmetic dentist, like Samuel D Knight, DDS, may use whitening trays filled with gel that are similar to what you can buy over the counter, but the dentist can custom-fit the trays for your mouth and use stronger bleaching solutions than you can buy in the store. They can also use lasers to speed up the whitening and increase the whitening effect, giving you faster results.
Maintain Your White Teeth
After you choose a way to whiten your teeth, you'll also want to make sure you're taking steps to maintain their shade. Giving up smoking was a great start, because smoking is a common cause of tooth stains. However, you should also consider whether anything else you're doing is causing stains.
For example, the tannins in coffee, tea, and wine can cause staining. Soda can also cause tooth stains. If you drink any of these regularly, you may want to consider cutting back, or at least brushing immediately after having one of these drinks. Certain foods, like blueberries and blackberries, tomato sauce, beets, and curry can also cause tooth stains. Being aware of foods and drinks that can stain your teeth can help you cut back, or at least consume with caution, so that you can maintain and enjoy your newly whitened teeth.
Quitting smoking can be the first step to better health and a better smile. Once you've done that, it's much easier to restore your smile to it's former brightness.