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It happens to so many people: you take a look at your teeth in the mirror one day, and you notice that they are looking darker and grimier than you remember. Didn’t your smile used to sparkle?

The truth is that dental discoloration is an exceptionally common dental issue among patients of many ages. Although, for many people, it seems as though dental stains popped up overnight, in most cases enamel change color gradually over time. Keep reading to get more information from our Saint Louis dentists about why dental discoloration tends to develop.

Young and healthy enamel is generally some shade of white; it also looks shiny and luminous. One reason why your teeth may start to look stained is become your enamel has absorbed colors from foods, drinks, and tobacco products: this type of discoloration is called environmental staining. Here are some substances that can leave color deposits on your teeth: coffee, tea, cola, red wine, red sauces, richly colored berries, chocolate. The longer that staining substances are allowed to hang out on your enamel, the more likely it is that they’ll cause dental stains.

Teeth can also start to look dark and yellow when dental enamel thins. Dental enamel is the outermost layer of your tooth, and this tooth layer is what gives your smile a white and bright appearance. Under the enamel is a tooth layer called dentin; dentin is naturally darker and yellower then enamel. So, if your enamel becomes thinner, more of the tooth’s dentin is able to show through to the surface of your smile.

Individual teeth may also change color due to injury or damage. For example, if a dental root is damaged and dies, the surrounding tooth structure will look dark, grey/black, and dull. In these cases, the dental issue goes far beyond aesthetics, and restorative treatment will probably be necessary.

Our Saint Louis dentists are here to determine the underlying causes of your dental discoloration, so that we can recommend treatments that suit your specific needs. Schedule a consultation with our team to get started—you may be surprised at just how much better your smile can look once it is whitened and brightened.

One of the best things that you can do for your long-term oral health is to prioritize, and refine, your daily oral hygiene routine. When you care for your smile properly day to day, you minimize your risk of suffering from periodontal disease as well as dental cavities.

Our Saint Louis dentists are here with some simple tips to help take your dental routine from adequate to outstanding. Keep reading to learn more about dental maintenance!

You are probably already brushing your teeth twice a day, and flossing at least once a day—this is a great start! Beyond that…

· You can start rinsing your mouth with water after you eat, and after you drink anything other than water. This helps to stimulate saliva production (which works to neutralize bacteria), and clears dental debris from your smile.

· It is also important that you use the proper tools to care for your smile. Talk to your dentist about what type of toothbrush bristle is right for you; most people do well with a soft-bristled brush, as medium and firm bristles can be unnecessarily abrasive and cause inadvertent dental damage. Additionally, you want to ensure that you replace your toothbrush every 3 months or so, and after an illness.

· Some dental patients also benefit from adding a mouth wash into their dental routines. Specially-formulated oral rinses can freshen breath, fortify dental enamel, neutralize harmful bacteria, and combat dry mouth.

The best way to fine-tune your oral hygiene routine is to meet with your dental team, so that your dentist can assess your smile and make personalized recommendations. As always, you can reach our Saint Louis dentists by calling our office or submitting your question through our Contact Us page. We look forward to speaking with you and helping you optimize your at-home dental care!

Bad breath can derail a date and put a hamper on your social life in general. If you are struggling with hard-to-treat bad breath, our Saint Louis dentists are here to help. The truth is that many bad breath remedies, like mints and breath sprays, can actually do more harm than good. In most cases the patient needs to treat his or her underlying oral health problems in order to conquer bad breath for good.

Sometimes you may notice that your breath seems malodorous after you eat or drink something that is strongly flavored. Garlic, onion, seasoned meats, and more can all leaving lasting tastes and smells in your mouth. This type of odorous breath is temporary and nothing to be worried about. You can drink plenty of water and rinse your mouth with water and/or mouthwash in order to help the smells dissipate faster.

If, however, you find that you’re dealing with unpleasant, stale breath on a regular basis, it may be because oral bacteria are running rampant in your mouth. The same oral bacteria that lead to a number of oral health problems release strong odors as they feed on sugars and thus multiply.

· Periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of chronic bad breath. As oral bacteria take root in your oral tissues you’ll start to notice that it becomes difficult to freshen your breath. You may notice that you have a persistent bad taste in your mouth as well.

· A severe dental cavity can also result in bad breath. Once your dentist removes the infected dental material and restores your tooth, you’ll find it is much easier to avoid bad breath day to day.

Our Saint Louis dentists are here to give you any additional information that you may need about how to care for your smile and battle bad breath. Give our office a call to schedule your personal consultation!

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