Porcelain veneers give you that stunning smile you've always wanted. But just like your real teeth, they're not maintenance free. Your pearly white veneers can turn yellow fast if you neglect them. Food debris, beverages, smoking and plaque take a toll on veneers, causing bad breath in the process as well. Fortunately, you don't need to do something drastic to keep your veneers looking white -- just some brushing, flossing and basic daily care.
Brush your teeth at least twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste. It's preferable to brush after every meal. If you can't do that, rinse your mouth with water after eating.
Floss once per day to keep food particles from clinging to your veneers. This helps knock out plaque and bad breath. If you find regular floss tricky to use, try plastic floss picks instead. These plastic holders keep floss taut. They also make it easier to reach teeth in the back of your mouth.
Cut back on coffee and tea if you drink them. These beverages stain your veneers yellow or brown. If you can't skip your morning coffee, consider drinking it with a straw to keep the liquid from touching your teeth as much as possible.
Avoid chewing on very hard foods such as ice or candy. Your veneers aren't as strong as normal teeth, so gnawing on hard foods may damage or discolor them.
Include lots of vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. Crunchy produce, such as celery or apples, can help scrape away plaque and food particles naturally.
Stop smoking or using other tobacco products if applicable. Nicotine stains veneers fast -- all it takes is a few months of smoking to turn them yellow.
Visit your dentist every six months for a checkup. Your dentist will make sure that your teeth and gums are in good shape. He'll also check your veneers for possible flaws and correct them if necessary.
Grinding your teeth can damage veneers. If you constantly clench your jaw and grind your teeth, ask your dentist for help. This can be a sign of bruxism, a condition marked by jaw pain and worn teeth.
See your dentist for a gentle polishing to keep veneers looking shiny. Alternatively, put a dab of low-abrasion toothpaste on your finger, then rub teeth using light pressure and small, circular motions. Rinse your mouth with water when finished.
- Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images