While tooth discoloration may not be as dangerous as other dental problems, it could influence your confidence and willingness to smile. Fortunately, by altering your eating and drinking habits and honing your oral hygiene routine, you could improve the color of your teeth. You would also benefit from a whitening therapy, to be performed by your dentist.
If you’re conscious about your teeth not being quite as pearly as they could be, there’s no need to worry. Here’s a list of the most common causes of stained teeth and some simple ways to help you whiten and brighten your teeth.
Causes Of Stained Teeth
There could be several reasons why you have stained teeth. But here are some of the most common ones:
- Inadequate Dental Hygiene
Failing to brush and floss your teeth every day is said to be one of the leading causes of tooth discoloration. Without frequent brushing and flossing, germs and food particles would accumulate in your mouth and adhere to your teeth, resulting in tooth discoloration. When poor dental hygiene happens, you create an oral environment that is especially prone to discoloration. If you fail to see your cosmetic dentist regularly, you might fail to notice how your teeth gradually lose their healthy appearance.
- Medications, Medical Treatment, And Mouthwashes
Discoloration of the teeth could be caused by several medications, including antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and blood pressure medications. Exposure to particular antibiotics like doxycycline and tetracycline at a young age, when teeth are still developing, could have a comparable effect.
Similarly, some medical treatments, such as chemotherapy and head and neck radiation therapy, are believed to be associated with tooth discoloration risk. Likewise, mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine chloride and chlorhexidine can discolor the teeth.
The outer layer of the tooth enamel erodes with time, eventually revealing the yellow dentin beneath. As you age, your dentin increases, too, which reduces the size of the tooth pulp. The tooth’s translucency decreases, giving it a darker appearance.
Tobacco products, including cigars, cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco, are believed to cause tooth discoloration and darkening. These things contain substances known to stain, such as nicotine and tar. As a result, when tobacco is repeatedly placed in the mouth, brown patches and overall yellowing of the teeth could occur.
- Specific Food And Beverages
Tooth discoloration may be the result of dietary habits. Staining of the teeth could be caused by tea, coffee, red wine, or soda. Also, think about what food could stain white clothing when eating—yes, pasta sauce, beets, berries, and other dark-colored food are frequent culprits.
Acidic food and beverages could erode the enamel of our teeth, discoloring, greying, or dulling them. Excessive consumption of sweet treats could also contribute to tooth decay, which could manifest as black spots on the teeth.
How To Handle Stained Teeth
If you have stained teeth problems, there are some solutions you could try. Here are some of them.
- Professional Cleaning
Plaque could accumulate on your teeth as you go about your day. It’s a bacteria-filled film that forms on your teeth, which could be removed with frequent brushing and flossing. However, if this is left ignored for an extended period or the teeth are not properly cleaned, it could result in discoloration, increased tartar buildup, tooth decay, or gum disease.
During tooth cleanings, the dental hygienist scrapes these plaque and tartar from the cracks of your teeth. Hence, doing this regularly would help you avoid future tooth problems, including discoloration. A professional tooth cleaning could also remove stains that are not yet deep into your teeth, thus helping with discoloration.
- Using Whitening Toothpaste
While virtually all toothpaste has abrasive elements to aid in stain removal, whitening toothpaste products are known to contain polishing agents or other unique chemicals to increase their effectiveness. Depending on the cause of tooth discoloration, these products are believed to lighten teeth a few shades with consistent use.
- Using Whitening Strips Or Gel
When applied directly to the teeth, these peroxide-based tooth whitening products could help improve the appearance of minor tooth stains. These products are available over the counter in the form of gel, which is applied with a brush, or strips.
- Utilizing Veneers
Dental veneers are custom-made porcelain shells that cover the front of the teeth to improve their color and shape. They’re tiny and delicate, around the size and thickness of a made-up fingernail. These veneers could improve the looks of your smile and also protect the surface of your teeth from discoloration or damage.
- Changing Your Habits
Changing your lifestyle could help avoid further tooth discoloration. You could consider quitting smoking or chewing tobacco or avoiding food and beverages that are known to stain the teeth. If these are difficult to do, try to always keep a toothbrush on hand to assist you with stain removal.
Brushing and flossing, getting professional cleaning, performing whitening procedures, and using veneers could be your first line of defense against stained teeth. There’s no reason to feel self-conscious about the color of your teeth when there are possible ways to whiten them. If you’re unable to resolve the issue on your own, your dentist would gladly assist you.