Everyone wants a bright, attractive smile, and many of them want to achieve it without having to resort to dental procedures. One easy and obvious choice is to whiten teeth during normal tooth brushing by using a tube of toothpaste specially formulated to whiten your teeth.
Please do not forget, tooth whitening will be much less effective for people who frequently drink or eat things that stain the teeth, such as coffee, tea, soda, wine, and berries. If a food or beverage is acidic, it will make your teeth more susceptible to staining, even if it doesn’t stain the teeth itself.
Signs & Symptoms :
The common symptoms of tooth discoloration include stains on the enamel ranging from white streaks to yellow tints or brown spots and pits. You may also notice changes in the color of the enamel. The enamel may lose its whiteness and start appearing darker. In other cases dentin may appear more significantly making your tooth look yellowish.
There are several reasons why teeth may darken. These include:
- Foods/drinks :Coffee, tea, colas, wines, and certain fruits and vegetables.
- Tobacco use :Smoking or chewing tobacco can stain teeth.
- Poor dental hygiene :Inadequate brushing and flossing to remove plaque and stain-producing substances like coffee and tobacco can cause tooth discoloration.
- Disease :Several diseases that affect enamel (the hard surface of the teeth) and dentin (the underlying material under enamel) formation can lead to tooth discoloration. In addition, treatments for certain conditions can also affect tooth color. For example, head and neck radiation and chemotherapy can cause teeth discoloration. In addition, certain infections in pregnant mothers can cause tooth discoloration in the infant by affecting enamel development.
- Medications :The antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline are known to discolor teeth when given to children whose teeth are still developing (before the age of 8). Mouth rinses and washes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride can also stain your teeth. Antihistamines (like Benadryl®), antipsychotic drugs, and antihypertensive medications can also cause teeth discoloration.
- Dental materials :Some of the materials used in dentistry, such as amalgam restorations, especially silver sulfide-containing materials, can cast a gray-black color to your teeth.
- Advancing age :As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth gets worn away revealing the natural yellow color of dentin. Also with aging, the tooth lays down more dentin, which decreases the size of the pulp. This reduces the translucency of the tooth, which makes for a darker appearance.
- Genetics :Some people have naturally brighter or thicker enamel than others.
- Environment :Excessive fluoride either from environmental sources (naturally high fluoride levels in water) or from excessive use (fluoride applications, rinses, toothpaste, and fluoride supplements taken by mouth) can cause teeth discoloration.
- Trauma :For example, damage from a fall can disturb enamel formation in young children whose teeth are still developing. Trauma can also cause discoloration to adult teeth.
In severe cases, teeth discoloration may negatively impact personal relationships and a person’s quality of life.
You can easily prevent tooth discoloration by making some simple lifestyle changes. If you are a coffee drinker and/or smoker, consider cutting back or quitting all together. Also, improve your dental hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly and getting your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist every 6 months. If your teeth appear to be an abnormal color without ready explanation, the abnormal tooth color lasts despite following good oral hygiene practices, and if other symptoms are also present, makes an appointment to see your dentist.