We all want to flash those pearly whites, but tooth discoloration often prevents us from doing so. The two leading causes of discoloration are extrinsic factors when the tooth enamel stains from external objects and intrinsic factors when the inner layer, i.e. the dentine of the tooth discolors or turns yellow. There are many causes which lead to discolored teeth. Let yellowing teeth not diminish your confidence; put a stop to discolored teeth by finding out what causes them. Here are the top 10 ways in which teeth stain:
The main culprits of extrinsic staining of teeth are food and drink. The three main components that cause teeth staining are chromogens, tannins, and acids. Chromogens are highly pigmented food that sticks to the enamel and discolors it. Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, grapes, and pomegranates contain high amounts of chromogens in them. Food dyes are found in candy, lollipops, ice pops and can stick to the enamel as well as your tongue. Avoiding these foods will lead to a brighter smile.
Beverages like tea, coffee are high in tannins, which are plant-based compounds that stick to the teeth and cause yellowing. Red wine is unusually acidic, along with having a high level of tannins and chromogens. It can stain your teeth very easily. However, you do not need to lay off these drinks completely, decrease the frequency of your intake. Sodas and soft drinks are also a huge cause of tooth discoloration. The acidic soda wears off the enamel and exposes the yellowish dentine of your teeth while soft drinks contain chromogens which discolor your teeth.
3. Poor Dental Hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene is a no brainer. Regular brushing and flossing should be a part of your daily routine. Incorporate a plaque resistant mouthwash daily to remove excess residue build-up for a brighter smile. Insufficient oral hygiene cause food residue to stick to your enamel, allowing bacteria to thrive on it. It, in turn, causes tooth decay and discoloration. Sweetened drinks lead to duller teeth, so always remember to brush your teeth after a late-night cup of coffee.
4. Age-related discoloration
The tooth contains three layers; the outer enamel, middle dentine, and inner pulp. As a person ages, the enamel gradually becomes thinner to reveal the yellow dentine. It leads to naturally duller, discolored teeth. Crown replacements can help in overcoming the problem of stained teeth. Kids dental crown has a white-resin surface which leads to a bright smile, while the thin cap allows for comfortable crown placement. It leads to a long-lasting, bright smile with no discomfort. Diet also plays a significant role in determining the brightness of one’s teeth. Avoid staining by reducing your coffee intake and maintaining good oral hygiene.
Some antibiotics like tetracycline and minocycline, cause tooth discoloration. If you consume such medicines when you were eight years or younger, you are at more significant risk of having discolored teeth. Whenever buying a mouthwash, don’t opt for harsh ones. Some containing chlorhexidine can stain your teeth. Consult your dentist before purchasing any such mouthwash.
Smoking is a significant cause of tooth discoloration. Tar and nicotine present in cigarettes stain your teeth. It can rapidly turn your teeth yellow, and with an extended use can turn your teeth brown. The tobacco adds the blackish hue to the teeth and also increases your chance of tooth decay, as it leaves the roots of the teeth exposed and causes sensitivity. Laying off the cigarettes will not only lead to a brighter smile but will also improve your health.
7. Excessive Fluoride
Overexposure to fluoride in the first eight years of your life can lead to fluorosis, a condition in which the teeth enamel discolors. Your teeth are developing during these years. The fluoride can not only stain your teeth but also lead to irregular teeth, noticeable pits and dark brown stains on the enamel. Water containing fluoride, toothpaste, and mouthwashes having fluoride, supplements and fortified juices are significant causes which lead to discoloration. In mild cases, tooth whitening can solve the problem; however, severe cases might need veneers to improve the look of the patient.
8. Tooth Trauma
This is an extrinsic cause which leads to discoloration. If you had an injury or a significant fall as a child, your teeth might turn brown or yellow. The tooth pulp becomes inflamed and might lead to stained teeth. In adults, the teeth usually turn grey. Consult your dentist if you suspect any such trauma.
Sometimes, it is merely our genes which determine the color of our teeth. Many genetic disorders like thalassemia or sickle cell anemia can cause your teeth to stain yellow, brown or even red. Or you might have teeth that are prone to getting stained quickly. In these cases, consider getting your teeth whitened or getting veneers. Changing medication that might be the cause of discoloration can also change the look of your smile.
A rarer cause of discoloration, some illnesses can make your teeth prone to staining. Constant exposure to radiation in chemotherapy can make your tooth enamel thinner, leading to discolored teeth. Medications used in the treatment of such illnesses could also be the culprit. Consult your dentist to know the underlying cause of your tooth discoloration.
Tooth discoloration a significant reason why people seek dental care. However, a few lifestyle changes can cause you to have naturally bright and whiter teeth. Less consumption of coffee and tea, reducing smoking and taking care to maintain your oral hygiene goes a long way to improve one’s smile. At home, ingredients like baking soda also do the trick as teeth whitening products. Rinsing your mouth after every meal and using whitening toothpaste too do the job. The discoloration is usually harmless, but do remember to make an appointment at the dentist’s every six months or so. Taking care of these steps will be able to give you that dazzling white smile you deserve!