The Main Causes of Tooth Discoloration
(and How to Fix it!)
Cigna's recent survey found out that at least 21% of the respondents were less confident in job interviews due to their oral health or smile. Tooth discoloration is one of those problems that affect people's self-confidence. There are several reasons behind stains and discoloration on teeth.
The discoloration is preventable and treatable. Understanding what causes tooth discoloration will help in establishing a workable preventive measure.
Keep reading our comprehensive guide here on the primary causes of food discoloration and how to fix the problem.
What Is Tooth Discoloration?
Tooth discoloration is when a tooth changes color. It ceases from being white or as bright as it should. The tooth is likely to turn into different colors, develop some spots, or darken.
The three main categories of tooth discoloration are intrinsic, extrinsic, and age-related. Intrinsic discoloration is a stain within a tooth, meaning that you can't use over the counter whitening products to restore its white color. It is often grayish and includes excessive fluoride, tooth decay, genetics, trauma, or some medications.
Extrinsic food discoloration only affects the surface of a tooth or the enamel. Most of these stains are caused by beverages, food, and tobacco. They are easy to clean out since they are on the surface.
Age-related discoloration happens when the enamel wears out. The result is the yellow appearance on teeth. Both intrinsic and extrinsic factors can cause age-related discoloration.
What Causes Tooth Discoloration?
Tooth discoloration has several causes, most of which are inevitable. Here are the common tooth discoloration causes.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Improper cleaning of teeth causes them to have a yellow buildup, either tartar or plaque. This condition develops from the bacteria on drink or food particles. Plaque forms tartar as it hardens, and removal can only be done by a professional.
These conditions make your teeth have a yellow coating. It's unsightly and can lead to bad breath and other oral hygiene problems.
You need to clean your teeth thoroughly, twice a day, to prevent plaque. If it has already hardened, visit your dentist for removal. A dental clinic with commendable teeth whitening services can improve your situation within no time.
Food and Drinks
Some types of drinks and foods can move to your tooth outer layer, leaving it with stains. If you have noticed sudden tooth discoloration, your diet is probably the culprit. Some of the drinks or beverages causing stains on your teeth include tea, coffee, wine, tomato sauce, soy sauce, beetroot, or berry stains.
Other foods contain acids that eat away a tooth’s enamel, which reduces its whiteness. The weakened enamel is also susceptible to stains. These foods include sugary foods, alcoholic drinks, sports drinks, citrus fruits, and fizzy drinks.
It would help to rinse your mouth with water soon after consuming these foods. You'll minimize the acid damage and save your teeth from discoloration. Better still, you might want to avoid the regular intake of such meals.
About 34.1 million U.S. adults are cigarette smokers. Cigarette smoking is one of the activities that have adverse health implications. It can mess up one’s dental health through tooth discoloration and reduced immunity.
Nicotine, tar, and other chemicals in smoke turn the teeth yellow. They go deeper into the enamel, causing it to have stains. These kinds of stains need to be removed by a professional as over-the-counter whiteners can be ineffective.
It would be advisable to quit smoking to avert possible discoloration. Alternatively, you can opt for e-cigarettes, which despite having nicotine, their degree in teeth discoloration is not as alarming.
Illnesses and Medication
Some diseases, such as those affecting the liver, can lead to discolored teeth. Radiation treatments and chemotherapy are also likely to cause yellowing of teeth. As such, cancer patients might have teeth with a brownish hue, which is often due to the treatments.
Antibiotics like tetracycline and amoxicillin cause teeth to stain, especially in children. Prescription drugs for high blood pressure and allergies can also impact the color of your teeth. It would help to talk to your doctor about these concerns.
Fixing Tooth Discoloration
If you have yellow teeth, don’t fret! You have several solutions at your disposal to help you smile again. The treatment options fall under three categories; over-the-counter, home remedies, and in-office treatment.
You can remove the teeth discoloration at home using several effective and affordable methods. Bleaching trays, LED kits, and strip pens can whiten your teeth, giving you a brighter smile. You can also try other natural methods if the tooth discoloration is extrinsic.
Your doctor can make a custom tray that you’ll be using at home. Within a few weeks of consistent use, your teeth will be whiter.
Hydrogen peroxide is often used for in-office treatment for teeth whitening. The treatment is somehow faster, and the results long-lasting. Experienced dentists can deal with any discoloration, leaving your teeth whiter without risking your overall oral health.
It is advisable to visit a dentist before embarking on home treatments. The last thing you’d want is to weaken your enamel with some of the products you use. Consult your doctor for guidance on any product you’re considering to use.
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products
Whitening strips and toothpaste can reduce surface stains. However, for intrinsic stains, they aren't effective. Research widely about the products to ensure that you get one that will do away with the teeth discoloration.
Tooth Discoloration Is Everyone’s Nightmare
Your teeth play a significant role in boosting your self-esteem and confidence. Tooth discoloration is not only unappealing; it can cause you to have a poor self-image.
If the cause of your tooth discoloration is avoidable, start by addressing it. You can then consider the in-office and in-house treatments to whiten and brighten your teeth. With an experienced dentist, restoring the white color of your teeth will take a short time.
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