A senior woman undergoing a dental exam

Can Seniors Whiten Their Teeth?

Many of the teeth-whitening advertisements we see in magazines and on TV highlight glamorous young people laughing and smiling. It is no wonder we are left confused about who can and who can not whiten their teeth. The fact is, whitening aging yellow teeth can be beneficial for many people when done responsibly and correctly. 

While we can face a slew of senior dental concerns that come naturally with the process of aging, some senior citizens find themselves most concerned with whitening aging yellow teeth. Dentistry for seniors uses American Dental Association, or ADA, recommendations to advise seniors on best practices for teeth whitening when it is the desired goal. 

Why Do Our Teeth Yellow As We Age?

If you are interested in tooth whitening or have questions about the aging of your teeth, you may be curious as to why teeth yellow over time and as you age. Our teeth are made up of two layers. The first layer is called dentin. Dentin is the inner layer of the nerve and blood supply. 

The second layer is called enamel. Enamel is the outer layer and is made up of pure minerals. Tooth enamel is actually the hardest substance in our bodies. It is made of pure calcium and phosphorus crystals. The phosphorus crystals of our enamel reflect and refract light. This is what causes teeth to have some amount of translucence. 

Over time, teeth will yellow as proteins lodge themselves in your enamel and change the way the light moves through the crystals. This is a natural process and even those who are dedicated to thorough brushing will experience yellowing teeth over time and with age. 

Whitening Aging Yellow Teeth: What to Consider

A smiling senior citizen wondering about whitening aging yellow teethDentistry for seniors suggests tooth whitening can be done at any age of adulthood. Tooth whitening products remove built-up stains and brighten the enamel. They are affordable and easy-to-use solutions to the problem of aging yellow teeth. There are, however, a few extra considerations to make as a senior if you are considering whitening treatments. 

Whitening Toothpaste

As we discussed, proteins that lodge themselves into your enamel and change the way the crystals of your enamel reflect light are responsible for yellowing teeth. Whitening yellowing teeth can be achieved through the use of bleaching trays or whitening toothpaste. Most whitening toothpaste brands have low-concentration bleach in them. This approach can work but takes an extended period of time to show a change in the color of your teeth. 

Bleaching Trays

Bleaching trays can be purchased from a dentist or over the counter. Unlike bleaching toothpaste, these bleaching trays contain a highly concentrated type of hydrogen peroxide. It is recommended that you get your bleaching trays from the dentist because the trays dental professionals provide can be made in a lab and customized to fit your mouth precisely. This is a faster option for whitening yellowing teeth. 

Whitening aging yellow teeth is one of many dental services seniors are asking about. However, seniors need to consider their overall oral health when making decisions about whitening. This is another reason it is best to see your dentist rather than using over the counter whitening products. Seniors with sensitive gum tissue and dry mouth may want to take caution as whitening can irritate those symptoms. Tooth decay is a common problem in seniors and needs to be addressed by a dentist before whitening can be performed safely. 

Tooth Sensitivity

Anyone who is interested in whitening should know that teeth can become very sensitive while bleaching. It is important to avoid liquids such as coffee and red wine during the whitening process. With an effective process designed by your dentist, you can see results within one week. The prevalent myth that teeth whitening weekend your tooth enamel is simply not true. Teeth bleaching needs to be done responsibly and is best done when overseen by your dentist. 

According to the ADA, it is best to have your teeth whitened professionally rather than using store-bought products on your own at home. More than likely, your dentist is highly trained in cosmetic tooth whitening. It is a common practice for many adults and your dentist can help you decide on the right way to proceed. 

Professional Dentistry for Seniors

If you want to whiten aging yellow teeth, you should make an appointment and head to your dentist’s office. This option is a bit more expensive than purchasing tubes of toothpaste and packages of whitening trays from the store, but it is safer and more effective overall. An experienced professional who practices dentistry for seniors will be able to assess any underlying health problems before you begin treatment. If you have problems that prevent you from whitening right away, your dental pro will advise you on those issues. 

You can have a consultation with your dentist and determine the best way to proceed as well as get an estimate for the cost of the whitening. Following your dentist’s recommendations regarding using your whitening trays or touch-up kit will help you brighten your teeth and avoid damaging your enamel. When in doubt, turn to the senior dental care professionals at Cano Health. Contact us today.