Smoking may be the reason for the brown or black stains on your teeth. The nicotine and tar in tobacco make it hard to keep your teeth white and bright. However, there are tips you can follow to help minimize the yellow discoloration and dark staining that smoking can cause.
Brush your teeth twice a day. If you are a heavy smoker, try brushing your teeth an additional time or two each day. But be careful not to cross the line to the point that you start over-brushing. Over time, vigorous brushing can wear down the enamel on your teeth.
If you are a light or intermittent smoker, brushing you teeth after smoking a cigarette removes tar and other chemicals in tobacco that stain your teeth. The sooner you remove these harmful substances from the surface of your teeth, the less time they have to settle into any small pits or hairline cracks in your tooth enamel.
Use a whitening toothpaste to help lighten stains. A whitening toothpaste doesn't remove stains that have already penetrated beyond a tooth's outer surface, but it can remove stains on the surface of your teeth.
Whitening toothpastes—including those specially formulated for smokers—contain abrasives that gently polish the teeth. Polishing your teeth removes stains, which makes them look lighter. Some whitening toothpastes also contain chemicals that help dissolve tar and other surface stains on teeth.
Floss your teeth daily. It's important to clean between your teeth at least once each day. Before you go to bed at night, floss after brushing to remove tar and nicotine that get between your teeth when you smoke throughout the day.
Bedtime flossing is important since bacterial growth in your mouth while you are sleeping occurs at a faster rate than when you're awake. Bacteria is what leads to the buildup of dental plaque.
Rinse your mouth with an over-the-counter or prescription mouthwash. Mouthwash products that contain ingredients such as glycerin, sodium lauryl sulfate, and sodium benzoate can help dissolve tobacco tar stains. The use of an antibacterial mouth rinse after you smoke also helps reduce bacteria that can cause tooth enamel stains.
As an alternative, your family dentist may recommend a therapeutic mouthwash that contains carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide as one of its active ingredients. Therapeutic mouthwashes help whiten teeth by reducing stains.
Schedule regular dental cleanings. Even if you get dental cleanings every six months when you see your dentist for routine dental exams, twice a year may not be enough. If you don't want tobacco stains to get below the tooth surface, you may need professional dental cleanings more often.
Outer tooth enamel is semi-porous, making it easy for any sticky film that builds up on the surface of your teeth to eventually penetrate into the softer dentin layer underneath. When this happens, stains and tooth discoloration occur.
If you still aren't happy with the results or how smoking affects the appearance of your teeth, think about kicking the habit. Your teeth will love you for it, and so will the rest of your body. For more information, contact specialists like William U Britton DDS MAGD.