Keeping your teeth beautiful isn’t just for vanity. Beyond the appearance benefits when it comes to getting a date or getting a job, many of the things that make teeth beautiful are closely related to their health. 

That’s true of the shine on your teeth. If you can keep your teeth shiny, they are more likely to stay healthy. Here’s how. 

A happy group of people in a fitness class, resting after a hard workout. Just like keeping your body healthy, it's important to keep your teeth beautiful!

Shiny Teeth Are Smooth and Clean

Why are teeth shiny? It’s your enamel that makes them shine. Enamel is a natural glass that reflects light, when it’s smooth and clean. A smooth shiny surface reflects light directly back, which is what makes them sparkle and shine. 

But if your tooth is rough and pitted, it reflects less light, and the light that it does reflect is scattered, so it’s not as bright and coherent. Plaque–a combination of food residue, bacteria, and their excretions–also makes your teeth look dull. Plaque is often white, but it doesn’t reflect light the way your enamel does. It makes your teeth look dull, even if they are white. 

When the Shine Is Gone?

So what is wrong with having less shiny teeth? Plenty. When your teeth are rough, they are more likely to trap stain molecules. These discolor your teeth. Besides that, rough teeth are easier for oral bacteria to grab onto. 

Once bacteria grab onto your teeth, they begin to make themselves at home, secreting molecules that protect them from antibacterial agents in your saliva. This is what makes the biofilm that is part of plaque. Bacteria also produce acid, which they make from sugars in your food. These acids attack your tooth enamel, turning a rough surface into a pitted one, then making those pits deeper until they become cavities. 

So keeping your teeth shiny helps them avoid stains and cavities. But how do you keep them shiny?

How to Keep Your Teeth Shiny

The best place to start is by following recommended hygiene practices. Make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day. This keeps plaque from building up on your teeth, which helps them stay shiny and smooth. 

However, brushing can also cause problems. Brushing too much or too hard or with the wrong kind of toothpaste can damage your enamel. Make sure you’re using a toothpaste that isn’t going to scratch your enamel–we can recommend a few brands–and don’t use toothpaste too often. You can brush more than twice a day, but you shouldn’t use toothpaste more than twice a day. 

You should also make your regular dental visits. We’ll clean your teeth and even polish them to give them a beautiful shine by removing rough spots and pits.

Another important thing is to watch your diet. Eating a lot of sugar gives bacteria the fuel they need to damage your enamel. And acidic foods and beverages can straight up damage your enamel. Sodas, wines, fruit juices, and energy drinks are the worst culprits. Avoiding fast food is a good start, but there are more diet changes you can consider, too. 

But if your teeth just can’t get as shiny as you want or don’t stay that way, consider restorations like veneers. Veneers are designed to be shiny and smooth, and they’re more resistant to staining and acid than natural teeth. 

Why You Shouldn’t Try to Polish Teeth at Home

One thing you shouldn’t do is try to polish your teeth at home. It might seem like a good idea, and, after all, we do it in the office, so why shouldn’t you do it at home. 

First, we have the tools and skill to polish teeth properly in our office. We invest in the proper tools that polish your teeth in the most conservative way, and we have the skill to polish them properly. Trying to polish them at home can potentially damage them. 

But, even if you could polish them just as well as we do–with the right tools and skill–it’s not a good idea to polish your teeth too often. Polishing does remove small amounts of enamel, and doing it too often could do more harm than good. 

Keep Your Smile Healthy and Beautiful

Are you looking to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile in Orange County, NY? Please call (845) 783-6466 today for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at Harriman Family Dental, serving the entire Central Valley from Harriman, NY.