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Reasons and Remedies for Tooth Discoloration

If you have stained or discolored teeth, it can affect your self-confidence. The good news is that there are many things you can do to brighten your smile and prevent tooth stains.

Six Factors That Contribute to Tooth Discoloration

When it comes to discolored teeth, stains can occur for numerous reasons. Some of these factors are caused by your everyday habits while others occur naturally. Here are the six most common ways tooth discoloration occurs:

  • Age: Your teeth naturally turn yellow as you get older. Your dental enamel becomes thinner as you age, exposing the yellow dentin layer underneath.
  • Taking certain medications: Certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline or doxycycline, can make your teeth appear brown or gray in color. High blood pressure medication, antipsychotic drugs, and antihistamines can also contribute to tooth staining.
  • Trauma: Experiencing trauma, such as a fall or other type of accident, to a permanent tooth can leave it permanently discolored. In adults, an injured tooth might appear gray or black, while in children, an injured tooth can turn brown or yellow.
  • Diet: Many common foods and drinks can stain your teeth over time.
    Smoking and using tobacco: In addition to increasing your risk of gum disease and cavities, smoking and using other tobacco products can also cause tooth discoloration.
  • Poor oral hygiene: If you don’t brush and floss consistently, your teeth are more likely to become yellow over time.

Common Food and Drinks That Stain Teeth

What you eat and drink plays a large role in your overall health and the color of your teeth. With foods and drinks that are more likely to stain your teeth, it’s best to consume them in moderation, clean your teeth after eating or drinking them, and visit your dentist regularly to prevent permanent problems. Here are some of the most common foods and drinks that can stain your teeth:

  • Berries: Although berries, such as blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are considered some of the most powerful superfoods available, they can stain your teeth. This is due to their vibrant color, which can stick to your enamel, resulting in stains.
  • Drinks containing tannins: Coffee, wine, and tea are just a few drinks that contain tannins, which are a type of plant compound. Since tooth enamel is porous, it absorbs the tannins found in these types of drinks, leading to discoloration over time.
  • Tomato-based sauces: Tomato-based sauces can stain your teeth due to their bright color and high acidity, which can wear down your enamel and expose the dentin underneath.
  • Curry: This staple of Indian cuisine can also stain your teeth due to its deep yellow color. Most curries contain a spice called turmeric, which can stain your teeth yellow over time.
  • Candy and other sweets: Candy contains a lot of sugar, which can damage tooth enamel and cause stains.
  • Soda: Many dark colas and other types of soda contain phosphoric acid, which can attack tooth enamel and cause enamel erosion. Soda is also high in sugar, which also contributes to the wearing away of tooth enamel.

Fight Tooth Discoloration With These Food and Drinks

By eating the right foods, it’s possible to avoid tooth discoloration. Add these foods and drinks to your diet to achieve a brighter smile:

  • Water: Besides its purpose as an excellent source of hydration, drinking water can neutralize the acid in your mouth, preventing enamel erosion.
  • Milk and cheese: Cheese and milk are rich sources of calcium and protein, which can protect your enamel from erosion by neutralizing acids.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, and other types of nuts have a tough and crunchy exterior that can buff away stains from enamel, improving the color of your teeth.
  • Crunchy fruits and vegetables: Crunching on apples, carrots, celery, broccoli, and pears can prevent stains from forming on your teeth.

Smoking and Tooth Stains

Smoking is an unhealthy habit that’s also damaging to your tooth enamel and gums. The tar found in tobacco products can stain your teeth dark brown, and the nicotine in cigarettes can turn your teeth yellow. If you want to prevent dark stains on your teeth, avoiding cigarettes and tobacco products is the most effective method. If you’re not ready to quit smoking, follow these tips to reduce tooth stains:

  • Visit your dentist’s office every six months for professional cleanings that can polish away stains.
  • Prioritize brushing your teeth after smoking.
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Engage in good oral hygiene by flossing and brushing your teeth daily.

How to Treat Tooth Discoloration

  • Over-the-counter whitening products: Whitening strips and kits purchased over-the-counter may remove light surface stains, but they won’t remove deep stains and can make your teeth sensitive.
  • Tooth whitening toothpastes: Brushing with a whitening toothpaste can also remove surface stains from your teeth, but they won’t change the natural color of your teeth.
  • At-home whitening kits from your dentist: Whitening kits provided by your dentist are effective at removing most stains, but it takes longer to achieve your desired whitening results.
  • Dental crowns and veneers: Veneers and crowns are cosmetic options that cover up signs of discoloration.
  • Professional whitening treatments: Received in your dentist’s office, professional whitening treatments deliver dramatic whitening results in the least amount of time. In-office treatments can even improve the appearance of deep tooth stains.

How to Prevent Tooth Staining

Want to avoid stains and discoloration from affecting your bright smile? Follow these recommendations from our dentists:

  • Try to brush your teeth after every meal and after drinking dark-colored beverages, especially tea, coffee, or red wine. If you’re unable to brush your teeth, make sure to rinse your mouth with water.
  • Receive professional cleanings every six months from your dentist or dental hygienist.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene at home by prioritizing daily brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash.
  • Don’t delay visiting your dentist if you experience a mouth or tooth injury.

Maintaining a white smile can be difficult, but our team of dental professionals can help. Contact us today to see how we can improve your smile.

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