Have you ever felt insecure about smiling due to tooth discolouration? There are numerous methods for removing teeth stains and preventing them from occurring in the first place. Here are a few pointers to help you keep your smile healthy and camera-ready!

We are constantly bombarded with images of pearly whites from the media day in, day out, to the extent that the global teeth whitening market was valued at USD 6,140.75 million in 2020 and is predicted to accumulate a net worth of USD 8,207.2 million by 2026.

As such, tooth discolouration is often associated with a sense of embarrassment. We would like to inform you that the darkening of your teeth could be a part of ageing—in other words, it can be out of your control.

We tend to find more faults in our oral condition with age. For example, the darkening of our teeth occurs as a natural effect of ageing. As we get older, the outer hard tissue covering our teeth, called enamel, wears away and exposes the darker dentin beneath it. This can cause our teeth to appear more grey or yellow rather than white.

However, the good news is that there are an array of solutions to reverse teeth stains, which means you still have a fair shot at achieving a smile that will boost your confidence at any age. Before we dive into these solutions, it is important for us to understand specific lifestyle choices that reduce the quality of our teeth, as these are factors that are within our control.

4 Lifestyle choices that darken your teeth

1) Food and drinks

Food-and-drinks

1) Food and drinks

The consumption of tea is often attached to a variety of health benefits that improve our daily functions. However, high consumptions of brew, especially the basic black variety, can produce more stains than coffee. Both tea and coffee contain coloured pigments and are also mild to moderately acidic. Both factors contribute to the staining of teeth.

Tomato-based sauces and curry are also a key offender to teeth stains. While tomatoes and curry are a great source of nutrition, the pigments that are responsible for their rich colour can deteriorate the colour of our teeth.

2) Tobacco use

Tobacco-use

2) Tobacco use

Your teeth have pores that are vulnerable to the tar and tobacco that is found in nicotine. Although nicotine is colourless on its own, when combined with oxygen, it turns yellow. This means that even nicotine-infused “e-juice” from electronic cigarettes can stain your teeth. Smokers’ teeth often become darker than others as a result of their inhalation method.

In regards to chewing tobacco, the brown tobacco that is in contact with saliva which often rests on the teeth for a long period of time will result in a dark liquid that is detrimental to the natural colour of our teeth.

3) Poor dental care

Poor-dental-care

3) Poor dental care

A lack of frequent brushing and flossing can lead to the accumulation of plaque and food stains. Skipping professional dental cleanings and poor methods of cleaning can also lead to the formation of stains. Long term use of mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine can also cause staining of teeth.

4) Medicine

Medicine

4) Medicine

Certain drugs have a long history of discolouring teeth in growing children. Tetracycline and doxycycline antibiotics can have an effect on enamel formation for children under the age of 8. Antihistamines (such as Benadryl), antipsychotic medications, and antihypertensive medications can all cause deep stains.

How to amend discolouration on your teeth

1) Brush with proper technique

Brush-with-proper-technique

1) Brush with proper
technique

Brushing properly takes at least two minutes—that is 120 seconds! Most adults do not brush their teeth for that long. Try using a timer for a start to get a sense of how long you are currently spending on teeth brushing. Brush your teeth gently with short, gentle strokes and pay special attention to the gumline, difficult-to-reach back teeth, and areas around fillings, crowns, or other restorations.

2) Change your diet

Change-your-diet

2) Change your diet

You already know that certain teas and sauces can lead to discolouration but essentially, all foods and drinks that come with darker pigments, tannins or high acidic content can lead to extreme stains overtime. It is best to reduce the consumption of these foods and drinks to prevent further staining. Alternatively, you can always brush your teeth after you eat.

3) Talk to your dentist

Talk-to-your-dentist

3) Talk to your dentist

This a sure-fire way to fix any dental-related issues you are struggling with. Your dentist can help you find the best teeth whitening treatment that is suitable for your current condition, especially for older folks with sensitive teeth. They are able to identify if your stains are extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic stains are visible on the surface of your teeth, which requires mechanical efforts to be removed and intrinsic stains are under the enamel, which requires teeth whitening to be removed.

As you can see, there are a number of lifestyle changes and remedies to combat the natural darkening of your teeth that inevitably comes with age. It is also noteworthy that each person’s teeth will respond differently to each treatment, which is why the support of your dentist matters! Speaking of the dentist, if you are due for a dental checkup, book an appointment with us!

Have an interesting topic you would like us to cover? Just let us know!

References:

1. Brushing teeth – proper techniques for brushing your teeth. (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2021, from
https://www.colgate.com/en-my/oral-health/brushing-and-flossing/how-tobrush

2. Person. (2020, December 11). Foods that Stain Teeth: 9 Tooth-Staining foods and drinks. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from
https://www.healthline.com/health/foods-thatstain-teeth#:~:text=The%20bottom%20line,keep%20your%20teeth%20looking%20good.

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are responsible for several health-threatening conditions, but did you know that it harms one’s oral health too?

According to a Singapore-based study, 7.4% of females (aged 12 to 26) are vulnerable to severe eating disorders such as anorexia (a condition that typically involves self-starvation due to the fear of weight gain) and bulimia (a condition that typically involves binge-eating and purging large amounts of food due to overwhelming stress).

Both conditions are common symptoms of body image issues, which is known as the state of one being unhappy with their physical appearance. This can stem from the increasing pressure conveyed through the media for people, especially females, to match unrealistic beauty standards.

Eating disorders are life-threatening conditions that are harmful to one’s self-esteem, academic performance and social skills. It is commonly associated with severe mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, but did you know that eating disorders can negatively affect one’s dental health too?

The common denominator between all forms of eating disorders is that it deprives people of the nutrients they need to nourish their bodies for day-to-day functions. As such, the lack of nutrition inevitably leads to sensitive gums that are prone to bleeding and frequent vomiting leads to high volumes of stomach acid coming in contact with one’s teeth, which will erode the enamel on the teeth and result in a negative change of size, colour and length of teeth.

4 Dental issues that come from eating disorders

1) Chewing

Chewing

1) Chewing

Degenerative arthritis of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in the jaw is a dental complication that is frequently linked to eating disorders. This joint is located at the point where the lower jaw connects to the skull. When arthritis develops in this joint, it can cause joint pain, severe headaches, and difficulty in chewing.

People with this issue will find it hard to open and close their mouths. Therefore, it is difficult for them to consume nutritious foods of harder textures such as vegetables, fruits and meat. And this may drive them to adopt a softer, restrictive diet that often lacks proper nutrition.

2) Mouth injuries

Mouth-injuries

2) Mouth injuries

Purging can cause swelling, gashes, and cuts inside the mouth, particularly on the upper surface known as the ‘soft palate’. Such injury is a red flag for dentists because normal daily habits rarely cause harm to this area.

Another sign of purging is bruising on one’s knuckles as people tend to bite their skin in an attempt to purge. A regular binge-and-purge cycle can result in salivary gland enlargement. Enlarged glands can be traumatic and are usually visible to others, which attributes to further emotional distress and low-self esteem.

3) Gum diseases

Gum-diseases

3) Gum diseases

Poor diet frequently results in nutritional deficiency. Calcium, iron and B vitamins are all nutrients that promote dental health. Inadequate calcium enhances not just gum diseases but tooth decay too; even if an anorexic person consumes enough calcium, the body requires sufficient vitamin D to absorb it. Inadequate iron can promote the development of mouth sores.

The most common gum issue is gingivitis, which is defined as inflammation of the gums. Signs of gum inflammation include bleeding during tooth-brushing, swollen-looking gums, and red gums.

4) Bad breath, dry mouth and cracked lips

Bad-breath-dry-mouth-and-cracked-lips

4) Bad breath, dry mouth
and cracked lips

Inadequate vitamin B3 (also defined as niacin) levels can contribute to bad breath and the formation of canker sores. As mentioned earlier, gums can become red and swollen, almost glossy-looking, as a result of gum diseases, which can be contributed by severe dehydration. As such, the mouth can become incredibly dry, and the lips can become blistered and cracked.

3 Ways to prevent further damage

1) Seek support from loved ones

Seek-support-from-loved-one

1) Seek support from
loved ones

We are all relational beings that rely on one another for support during trying times. People who are struggling with eating disorders should not let their thoughts fester in isolation, instead, they should receive emotional support from their loved ones.

The journey to recovery from an eating disorder is anything but easy as it is both a physical and mental battle. Those who are on the path of recovery deserve an ample amount of love and encouragement from those who care about them.

2) Seek professional help

Seek-professional-help

2) Seek professional help

As mentioned earlier, eating disorders are usually paired with mental disorders. Thus, it is highly recommended for people who are struggling with an eating disorder to seek professional help from a therapist or psychiatrist.

Mental health professionals may encourage patients to keep a food journal that will be reviewed during each counselling session. The purpose of a food journal is to identify what triggers unhealthy eating behaviours and how they can be rectified with the right tools.

3) Seek a treatment plan from the dentist

3) Seek a treatment plan from
the dentist

Individuals suffering from eating disorders frequently seek professional help from their dentist due to issues found in their mouth and teeth. A dentist or dental hygienist is taught to identify the oral symptoms of a severe eating disorder. They will first educate the patient on the oral and bodily harm that will arise from an eating disorder and craft a treatment plan that will help resolve those oral complications.

The dentist should always assure their patients that their relationship is kept confidential and that their office is a safe space for them to share their struggles and progress towards recovery.

Dentists play a significant role in supporting patients through the ups and downs of an eating disorder as they should always convey compassion, understanding and patience towards their patients who seek dental aid.

As you can see, eating disorders have several significant effects on one’s oral health. However, it is treatable when empathy is present. The common denominator between the three roles listed above that serves as an aid for people who have eating disorders is that each person can provide emotional and mental support.

Your dental health is imperative to your overall health. With that being said, if you are due for a dental checkup, book an appointment with us!

Have an interesting topic you would like us to cover? Just let us know!

References:

1. Dental complications of eating disorders. (2018, February 22). Retrieved March 31, 2021, from
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/dental-complications-eatingdisorders

2. McGuire, J., & McGuire, J. (2016, December 30). How eating disorders are damaging to teeth. Retrieved March 31, 2021, from https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/blog/eatingdisorders-damaging-teeth

Snoring can be mistaken as the sound of peaceful sleep. In reality, snoring is a sign of various health issues, including oral health. To find out how snoring can erode the quality of your pearly whites and what you can do to stop it, keep on reading…

Snoring is so common that we might see it as perfectly natural. But experts have found that snoring is linked to many health-threatening conditions such as unhealthy weight gain, high alcohol use, sleep deprivation, heart disease, stress and mental health. The most surprising finding would be that snoring has negative effects on your dental health too.

What causes snoring?

What-causes-snoring

Before we dive into how snoring can be detrimental to your oral health, we must understand the common causes of snoring.

The tissues in the roof of the mouth, tongue, and throat are in a relaxed state while you sleep. The soft tissues can sometimes relax so much that they partially block your airway, especially if you sleep on your back. As air passes through your throat, the soft tissues begin to vibrate, resulting in the sounds of snores. The more your airway narrows, the stronger the airflow and the louder the snores get.

How does snoring negatively affect one’s oral health?

oral-health

How does snoring negatively
affect one’s oral health?

When you snore, you are gasping for air through an open mouth, which leads to a dry mouth. When your mouth is dry, there is no protective layer of saliva to protect your oral tissues.

A dry mouth is more prone to pH imbalances, cavities, gum diseases and bad breath. In the absence of saliva, acids and bacterial plaque quickly accumulate in the mouth. The accumulation of harmful bacteria eventually leads to the deeper layers of the tooth being affected, resulting in severe dental pain.

Here are 5 things you can do to overcome this problem

1) Work towards a healthier weight

Chewing

1) Work towards a
healthier weight

People who are overweight often have an accumulation of fat around the throat that contributes to snoring. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet will reduce this accumulation of fat and reduce the occurrence of snoring.

2) Use nasal strips or external nasal dilators

Mouth-injuries

2) Use nasal strips or external
nasal dilators

Nasal strips or an exterior nasal dilator may be used to overcome the issue of snoring. Many people find that applying adhesive strips to the bridge of the nose helps them to widen their nasal passage, thereby improving airflow. A nasal dilator is a stiffened adhesive strip that is applied externally across the nostrils to help increase airflow and allows you to breathe easily.

3) Learn myofunctional exercises and breathing techniques

Gum-diseases

3) Learn myofunctional
exercises and breathing techniques

The tongue, like any other muscle in the body, can be exercised to increase its muscle tone. By strengthening certain muscles of the tongue, you can adopt a better resting tongue posture. This prevents the tongue from losing its muscle tone and obstructing the airway during sleep.

Learning to breathe better during the day with breathing exercises will help to reduce the amount of air you take in during each breath and reduces your breathing rate. Both measures will reduce the occurrence of snoring during sleep.

4) Limit the consumption of alcohol and sedatives

Bad-breath-dry-mouth-and-cracked-lips

4) Limit the consumption of
alcohol and sedatives

Alcohol and sedatives should be consumed in moderation or they should be completely off the table for you. It is also best to avoid consuming alcoholic beverages at least two hours before going to bed. If you must take sedatives for health-related reasons, do notify your doctor that you snore in your sleep so that he or she may find an alternative for you. Sedatives and alcohol keep your central nervous system compressed, which triggers muscles, including those in your throat to relax, which as mentioned earlier, is a big contributor to snoring.

5) Frequent visits to the dentist

Seek-support-from-loved-one

5) Frequent visits to
the dentist

People who suffer from snoring must ensure regular dental checkups. Learn more about correction of snoring from a dentist who is trained in Myofunctional Therapy. With regular dental care from your dentist, any cavities or gum disease found can be effectively treated because of early intervention.

To get quality sleep, put these five tips into action to ensure that your smile will remain bright for all the days to come! As always, if you are due for a dental checkup, book an appointment with us!

Have an interesting topic you would like us to cover? Just let us know!

References:

1. Brushing your teeth: Does timing matter? (2019, June 05). Retrieved March 31, 2021, from
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/brushing-your-teeth/faq-20058193#:~:text=Answer%20From%20Thomas%20J.,your%20teeth%20and%20contains%20bacteria.

2. Melinda. (n.d.). How to stop snoring. Retrieved March 31, 2021, from
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/snoring-tips-to-help-you-and-your-partner-sleep-better.htm

3. What causes snoring: Its effect on oral health. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2021, from
https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/respiratory-conditions/what-causes-snoring-its-effect-on-oral-health