How to remove stains - teeth whitening tips

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Food and drinks such as coffee, red wine and tea are known to discolor your teeth. Learn how to remove stains from your teeth with affordable over the counter whitening products.

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  • Dr. Brian Kantor

    Dr. Brian Kantor Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Brian Kantor is a cosmetic dentist in the greater NYC area. He has been on the forefront of the cosmetic dental revolution for years, working on celebrity smiles and confidence concerns with the latest approaches and technologies. more about this expert »

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Transcript Hi, I'm Katrina Szish for Howdini. Today we're going to talk about how to remove stains from our teeth. To do that, I'm joined by cosmetic dentist Dr. Brian Kantor. Nice to see you. Nice to see you. OK, so now why do our teeth discolor? Stains are so frustrating. Well, teeth are unfortunately porous, and you use them often, multiple meals a day for as many years as you've been alive, so the stains can accumulate over time. And if you have bad oral hygiene, that stain will accumulate at a faster rate. Now, what causes these stains in the first place? Things we love to do cause stain-- coffee, tea, red wine, chocolate, and smoking. All of these products will actually increase the staining on your teeth. OK, well, I've got to say, coffee, red wine, chocolate, those aren't going anywhere. So how do we actually counteract those and remove the stains from our teeth. Well, one thing we can try is whitening. And everyone wants to know, everyone wants to bleach, everyone wants to whiten their teeth. But what's the difference between whitening and bleaching? Well, whitening is where you make the teeth appear whiter than they are by removing the surface stain. So the first we would do is try over-the-counter whitening products or go to your dentist to have your teeth cleaned to remove the stain and see if that's stain or actually the color of your teeth. If you want your teeth whiter than that, then you have to bleach your teeth. And bleaching actually puts a hydrogen peroxide material, which is a bleaching agent. And the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide will oxidize these long-chain stains and breaks these chains up intrinsically, and that actually bleach the tooth, making the teeth lighter than they actually were. Now, do the at-home solutions work for this? Well, they do work. And how well a bleaching product works is really depending on two factors. One is the concentration of hydrogen peroxide. The more concentration of hydrogen peroxide, the better the product will work, and however long and well the bleaching product remains isolated on your teeth. So a lot of these over-the-counter products are whitening products such as whitening toothpaste. These will whiten the teeth by removing the surface stain to make the teeth appear whiter. But there are over-the-counter bleaching products as well, such as Crest Whitestrips. What these do is they actually will remain isolated on your teeth and allow the bleaching process to work. So they do work. And the beauty of these over-the-counter products, it's a lot cheaper, and they are effective. That's great. So a lot more accessible for a lot more people on a budget. A lot more accessible. The results can vary. It works differently for everyone, but over-the-counter products do work. Now, will this affect dental work, say, veneers or crowns? Yes. When you have dental work, either crowns, veneers, bridges, that porcelain will not change color. You can't change the color of the porcelain. So if you're going to bleach your teeth and your teeth are intertwined with this dental work, your teeth are going to get lighter and the porcelain will not, so it kind of defeats the purpose of bleaching. So not everyone is a candidate for bleaching, so you should really see your dentist before you start bleaching your teeth. OK, now once I finally remove these stains, how do I keep them removed? Maintenance. You have to maintain your smile. If you bleach your teeth, you have to maintain a healthy smile. You have to have good oral hygiene and try over-the-counter products. The whitening toothpaste, the whitening rinse, these will help remove the surface stain to maintain your white smile. OK, great. All great information. Thank you so much, Dr. Kantor. Thank you. OK, our teeth thank Dr. Kantor here. And I say stains beware and be gone. Let's recap. Stains are caused by dark foods and drinks that we love, so brush soon after if you simply can't resist. And to remove the buildup of stains, you can have a professional or an at-home whitening done. After the treatment, help keep your whiter smile by a regular routine that uses the whitening toothpastes, floss, and mouthwashes available. And lastly, if you smoke, then stop. Whiter teeth are only one of the many reasons to quit. See your dentist or health care professional about getting help. On behalf of Crest 3D White, I'm Katrina Szish for Howdini. For more information, check out the website.

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