3 Ways to Remove Teeth Stains Caused by Smoking
Currently around one in ten Australians smoke, but fewer and fewer of us do every year. I think we’d all agree this is good news – smoking has a range of negative effects on our overall well-being, and our dental health is no exception.
Why do Cigarettes Stain our Teeth?
Cigarettes affects both the appearance and overall condition of our teeth and gums. Many smokers, and those who have recently quit, will probably notice their teeth have gained an unpleasant yellow or even brown tinge, getting further and further away from those pearly white smiles that we look to maintain.
Tar is one of the key culprits, but nicotine isn’t great either, which means that purportedly healthier e-cigarettes can also have a staining effect, as well as putting unnecessary strain on our gums. This happens because nicotine becomes yellow when it’s exposed to air, and gets trapped in the pores of our teeth – yes, teeth have pores like our skin! Tar is much the same.
This type of discolouration is called extrinsic – which means it’s caused by outside sources. Think of how your teeth go a little purple after a glass of red wine, or yellow with a few too many cups of coffee.
A lot of these stains will go away with sensible brushing, but smoking can have a more persistent effect.
The good news is that compared to intrinsic discolouration, which happens within the tooth, outside staining is a lot easier to deal with, and there are a range of ways you can do so. They vary in their effectiveness, and some, as you’ll find out, can be a lot more expensive than others. The Polar Smiles Teeth Whitening Kit and Colour Corrector are easy to use at home.
We’ll be looking at three of the most popular: visiting the dentist, putting together a home remedy, or picking up an at-home teeth whitening kit. Let’s get started.
1. Visiting the Dentist
In Australia we’re expected to cover most dental procedures out of pocket – especially cosmetic ones like teeth whitening – and the price of the two most popular treatments tend to be a lot more expensive than other solutions. The upside is that they might be more effective, they will, however require a trip to the dentist’s office and hit the pocket quite hard. As a guide, the dentist’s clinic with home follow-up costs $1500 for each of your top and bottom arches.
Dental trays use a plastic retainer, which, simply put, traps a layer of whitening agent (bleach) against the teeth. It’s the cheaper treatment of the two, starting at around $400.
After your dentist makes sure you’ve got a snug fit, you’ll be expected to continue the treatment yourself at home. This involves:
- Pouring a little of the whitening solution into your retainer tray – you’ve got to be very careful here as it will spill out and harm your gums.
- You’ll then put your retainer in and leave it on overnight, usually around 8 or so hours, which can be quite uncomfortable.
- In order to see any results, you’ll have to do this for several nights – although the effectiveness of the treatment does vary from person to person.
- Like many conventional retainers, you won’t be able to eat, drink or smoke during this time – hopefully you’ll be fast asleep anyway!
Heat and Light Treatments
The ‘celebrity’ teeth whitening treatment comes with an appropriately high price tag – starting at $1000 depending on where the procedure takes place.
Often called ‘laser’ whitening, it involves spreading a layer of whitening agent (peroxide solution) over the teeth then blasting them with heat or light – though it is totally painless.
They can be performed by both dentists and cosmetic therapists – the former is more expensive but ensures that an expertly trained professional will be overseeing it. The treatment takes anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour.
2. Home Remedies
Moving on now to home remedies. I think we’d all like to brighten up our smiles with things we have lying around the house, and fortunately there are a few ways that this can actually be done! The downside is that they may not be effective as clinical procedures or at home whitening kits.
Hydrogen peroxide isn’t just used in hair dye – it’s actually involved in a lot of teeth whitening treatments, including the clinical ones listed above.
It’s generally safe when used at home in small amounts – as hydrogen peroxide is diluted significantly already – but before swishing it around your mouth, you’ll still want to mix it into a solution with an equal amount of water. Around 30mls each will do the trick.
Swish it around for thirty seconds or so – if it starts to hurt at any point, spit it out right away. Try to swallow as little of the solution as possible.
You shouldn’t use too much solution as this can actually harm your teeth, and you shouldn’t do this treatment any more than once per day for similar reasons.
Brushing Straight after Smoking
According to Healthline, brushing right after smoking will help to get rid of the layer of tar that will become embedded in your enamel.
This is probably not practical for frequent smokers – we don’t want to advise you to brush more than twice a day, as over brushing can have its own set of nasty side effects.
3. At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits
At home teeth whitening kits have really taken off recently – you’ve probably seen them being used around the internet. Like laser treatments, they involve applying a little solution onto teeth and then treating it with light. But do they actually work?
The short answer is yes. At home teeth whitening kits have been scientifically proven to help improve the colour of teeth over time – including removing the stains caused by cigarette and e-cigarette smoke.
They’re a lot faster than other treatments, Polar Smiles’ teeth whitening kit requires a simple ten minute application daily. It may also be a lot safer, as it doesn’t use the harmful chemicals that can result in damage to your gums as some dental trays do.
Costs for at home teeth whitening kits are typically around $100, and use a sodium bicarbonate based gel and rechargeable device to generate light. Polar Smiles provide a reliable and effective way to remove the stains and brighter your smile with the teeth whitening kit for, colour corrector at $20 or the teeth whitening kit and colour corrector bundle at just $100, and we can agree that at those prices it wont hurt the hip pocket.