Your golden years of life have a lot of personal benefits, but teeth that have yellowed so much that they actually look like they're in their golden years aren't one of them. But with decades upon decades of fading and wear and tear on your teeth, how do you know what whitening techniques will be good for your teeth and which ones could potentially damage them further? If you're currently moving through your twilight years but want your teeth to be as bright, white, and shining as they were 50 years ago, then here's what you need to know.

There's No Place Like Home

As you age, the dentin in your teeth naturally yellows, your enamel gets thinner, and you become more prone to stains and spots on your teeth – all of which contribute to a less-than-white smile. If you want to treat this problem at home, advances in whitening techniques have made it so you can purchase whitening strips, toothpaste, mouthwash, and even floss at your local supermarket. Make sure to follow the directions on these products, and go with a brand you trust (even if it's a bit more expensive than the knock-off brand), making sure to take a break and consult your dentist if you notice your teeth becoming more sensitive.

Consider Carbamide

If you're not quite comfortable with a home whitening routine, it's a good idea to ask your dentist to professionally whiten your teeth. A 10% carbamide peroxide solution is generally the tool that dentists use to whiten their patients' teeth, and for good reason – this solution can also remove stubborn plaque and kill the bacteria that causes cavities. Dentists can even reduce the chance of making your teeth sensitive by adding potassium nitrate to the mix. However, dental bleaching is generally best on patients with gums that haven't receded and whose teeth are healthy and whole. If you don't fit that description, you may have to find a different way to make your teeth white – such as veneers.

Brighten and Replace

If your teeth aren't healthy or if they're chipped or broken, however, you may want to talk to your doctor about getting porcelain veneers. Not only do these false teeth not show wear (porcelain is much tougher than natural tooth enamel) and don't discolor over time, but they also help, in the hands of a dentist skilled with veneers, to even out the size and shape of your teeth (even to the point of closing small gaps between teeth), giving you a smile that's both white and aesthetically appealing. Your dentist will be able to tell you if porcelain veneers are right for you and walk you through the multi-step process that will leave you with a white, shining smile.

To learn more, contact a company like Stone & Johnson Dental Group.