Causes of Tooth Discoloration: What Are They?

People love white teeth. White teeth make for a beautiful smile and when we feel like our smile is beautiful – attractive – we naturally smile more. This can make us seem friendlier and happier too!

On the flip side, tooth discoloration and stained teeth can be a bummer. Often, people with discolored teeth feel embarrassed about their smile and thus, can appear unhappy or unfriendly even when that’s far from the truth.

Of course, there are many ways to whiten teeth.

Here at Cigno Dental we can help you get that white smile you dream of having. However, to keep teeth white – or to prevent tooth staining to begin with – it’s important to understand what causes it, types of teeth stains and how to prevent it from getting worse or happening at all.

Tooth discoloration can be caused by a variety of things.

Here are some examples of things that can cause discolored teeth and different types of tooth staining:

  • Food and Drinks: Coffee, tea, dark sodas, wines, apples, and potatoes
  • Tobacco Use: Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Poor Dental Hygiene: Inadequate brushing, flossing, and rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash. These remove plaque and staining foods that are left behind.
  • Disease: Tooth discoloration can come about when the enamel and dentin are damaged. Some treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation, of certain diseases can also cause discoloration.
  • Medications: Antibiotics known as tetracycline and doxycycline are known to cause discoloration of teeth when they’re given to children with developing teeth. Benadryl, antipsychotic drugs, and drugs for high blood pressure can also cause discoloration.
  • Age: As you age, the hard-outer layer of your teeth called the enamel gets worn away, allowing the yellow color of the layer underneath, dentin, shine through.

Types of Tooth Discoloration and Teeth Stains

Extrinsic: This is when the outer layer of the tooth (enamel) is stained. This is the easiest stain to reverse because it isn’t a deep stain. These stains can be caused by coffee, wine, foods, and smoking.

Intrinsic: This is when the inner part of the tooth (dentin) is exposed and gets a yellow tint. This can be caused by a number of things, some examples include too much exposure to fluoride during childhood, you used tetracycline antibiotics as a child, trauma to the tooth, or internal bleeding of the tooth.

Age Related: This is a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. The enamel grows thinner over time and the dentin is exposed. Once the dentin is exposed, it yellows over time.

Symptoms of Tooth Discoloration

There aren’t many symptoms except for stains on the enamel. These stains can range from white streaks, yellow tints, or brown spots. These stains are mostly caused by the wearing away of the tooth enamel, allowing the dentin to show.

Treatment for Discolored Teeth

How to get rid of brown stains on teeth; fix tooth discoloration once and for all!

There are a range of different treatments for different levels of stains. Stains caused by food or drink can be removed by a professional cleaning and home care. A professional cleaning can be what is called a “power bleaching.” Power bleaching is done by applying a light-activated bleaching gel, which can get your teeth whiter in 30-45 minutes.

If you’re wanting to try an at-home method, there are over the counter bleaching gels with mouth guards, bleach strips, or pastes. These are specifically designed to use at home, so they won’t be as strong as the bleach applied by our team here at Cigno Dental or your dentist. If your teeth are more severely stained, you may need a veneer or crown.

Preventing Tooth Discoloration

Tooth discoloration is something no one wants to deal with if they can help it. And once your enamel is damaged, it does take some work to reverse.

The best way to avoid discolored teeth is to take preventative steps. These steps are minor life changes. If you’re a coffee drinker or smoker, cut back or quit all together. As you could imagine, improving your oral hygiene routine is the best way to prevent discoloration. It is recommended to brush two times daily, floss, and rinse with a mouthwash. It is also important to get your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist every 6 months.

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