Understanding a white smile
March 09, 2022
While we all want a beautiful white smile, we do not always know how to reach this and what factors influence the colour of our teeth. In this article, we discuss what it takes to get a friendly white smile and keep it.


Ina Alberts

Many factors influence the colour of our teeth. Both internal and external factors can play a role. Internal factors can include developmental defects such as Fluorosis (caused by excessive fluoride intake during tooth development), tetracycline discolouration (intake of tetracycline antibiotics during tooth development) or bleeding of a tooth after trauma. Our habits, diet, damage to tooth structure (such as during tooth decay) and age are external factors that can also influence their colour.

A clean smile is always a whiter smile! 

The protein layer on the outside of our teeth (called pellicles) can absorb colorants from our diet and make teeth appear darker than they are. What we consume daily and our habits influence the color of our teeth in this way. Culprits are cigarette smoking, coffee, red wine, tea, curries, colored drinks and sweets. A professional cleaning can remove these external discolorations and give you a whiter smile.

The better you care for your teeth by brushing twice daily and flossing once daily, the cleaner and whiter your teeth will look. Sonic electric brushes and water flossers have made it much easier to clean our teeth better and are worth the investment. Whitening toothpaste that claims to whiten teeth mostly removes stains and cleanses a bit better. You should choose professional whitening toothpaste rather than over-the-counter ones, which can be abrasive and result in tooth sensitivity. Yearly visits to a dental hygienist will assist in removing hard deposits and stains on teeth, resulting in healthier gums and teeth and providing guidance on caring better for your smile.

Whiten your way to a whiter smile!

With time, discoloration in the protein layer around our teeth can enter the enamel, resulting in more permanent tooth discoloration. That is why as we age, our teeth become yellower. Teeth whitening is an excellent solution for internal discolorations. At I love my smile we offer three types of whitening options:

    1. A professional cleaning followed by a 10-minute in-chair whitening (ideal for smokers, coffee or wine drinkers, as well as people who have whitened their teeth before and want to maintain them)
    2. A professional cleaning, in-chair teeth whitening combined with a home whitening kit (custom-made whitening trays and take-home whitening gel). This option will provide the most significant shade jump and is advisable for first-time whiteners. 
    3. A professional cleaning and home whitening kit (custom-made trays and take-home whitening gel) can also provide good results. It involves doing all the whitening at home by yourself. This a more prolonged process as teeth whiten gradually.


A tip for the ladies!

When buying lipstick rather choose one with a blue undertone instead of one with an orange/ yellow tone.  Blue is opposite to yellow on the color wheel and will tend to cancel out yellow tones, leaving your teeth looking whiter.
If you’d love to have a whiter smile but a hygiene visit is not satisfying enough and you’re not a candidate for teeth whitening, there are alternatives. Restorations, crowns or veneers can provide a solution.  Visit us for a consultation.