Proper oral hygiene combined with quality products is supposed to help make it simple to keep your teeth healthy at home. In between annual or bi-annual dental visits, practicing proper brushing techniques, good flossing, possibly adding in an alcohol-free mouthwash and replacing toothbrushes on a regular basis is foundational. However, it’s been discovered that some very common products—including toothpaste—might actually be staining teeth brown.
Most people already know the common culprits of tooth stains: Red wine, dark sodas, coffee and berries are high up on the list. Lately, some dentists have noticed increased stains on teeth, even on patients who don’t regularly eat or drink dark foods and beverages. What these patients had in common was a common toothpaste or mouth rinse containing stannuous fluorides, which ultimately makes teeth look like they’ve been heavily stained with coffee.
A Vicious Cycle
Both the toothpaste and mouthwash also have the active ingredient cetylpyridinium chloride, which is what turns potential stains into full-fledged stains. This ingredient isn’t necessarily unique to one particular manufacturer. For patients worried about tooth staining, double-check the ingredients list in your oral health care products for peace of mind. This may also be a time to consider switching to a more natural toothpaste with fewer ingredients for overall health. Less can be better in some aspects of dental care.
However, also remember that everyone has a different “whitest white.” It may not be possible to get Hollywood-level white teeth, because many people in Hollywood are actually sporting porcelain veneers. Cosmetic dentistry, though, can be expensive and is not often covered by insurance. A better approach is proper care of your natural teeth, perhaps straightening them with orthodontics, and keeping up with those scheduled dental appointments.
In Defense of Toothpaste
No toothpaste manufacturer has released an official statement about this kind of staining, so it is up to the consumer to double check ingredients and keep an eye on their teeth for staining. Checking ingredients should be standard anyway, and staining issues serve as a reminder to keep an eye on what dental patients are putting on their enamel. However, patients should also remember they do not have to decide between fighting plaque and white teeth. There are toothpastes and rinses which whiten teeth and fight plaque.
A dentist can recommend the best products for your goals and unique mouth. There are many choices out there, but a professional can help you narrow down the best options for you.