Why Teeth Discolor and How to Prevent and Reverse It
Your smile is an important component of your attractiveness. Bright white teeth are associated with good health and hygiene and help to make great first impressions. Tooth discoloration can undermine your smile, and it can happen for many different reasons. Let us have a look at what causes staining and darkening and what you can do to prevent it as well as reverse it.
The common causes of tooth discoloration include:
- Foods and drinks – The foods and drinks we consume every day can have a dramatic effect on tooth color. Coffee, tea, cola, and wine are all notable in that regard. Even certain fruits and vegetables, such as apples and potatoes, can stain your teeth.
- Tobacco – Smoking or chewing tobacco will yellow your teeth over time.
- Poor dental hygiene – You should brush twice a day, floss daily, and rinse regularly with a therapeutic mouthwash. Not doing so enhances the effects of the foods and drinks mentioned earlier. It also allows for the accumulation of plaque and eventually tartar, which will yellow and otherwise discolor your teeth as well.
- Disease – Certain diseases and other illnesses can damage your enamel and dentin. Enamel is the hard surface of the teeth, and dentin is the material beneath the enamel. Tooth discoloration can be a byproduct of such damage. There are also medical treatments, such as chemotherapy and head/neck radiation, that can discolor your teeth. It is also possible for unborn children to have their teeth discolored due to certain infections affecting their mothers.
- Medications – Tetracycline and doxycycline are antibiotics known to discolor teeth in children about age 8 and younger. Hypertension medication, antipsychotic drugs, and antihistamines, such as Benadryl, can discolor teeth as well. Even mouthwash can cause discoloration if it contains chlorhexidine or cetylpyridinium chloride.
- Dental materials – Dentists use some materials that can discolor teeth. These include the dental amalgam used for fillings, and any materials that contain silver sulfide can cast a color on teeth ranging from gray to black.
- Aging – Yellowing of the teeth as you age is natural. This happens because your enamel wears over time, and your dentin has a natural yellow shade that gets revealed.
- Genetics – Some people have brighter and/or thicker enamel than others and vice versa.
- Environment – Excessive fluoride from environmental sources, such as your tap water, can discolor teeth. You can also create this effect through the excessive use of fluoride toothpaste, fluoride rinses, fluoride supplements, and other fluoride applications.
- Trauma – Damage to your teeth, such as due to an automobile accident or athletic activities, can discolor your teeth due to disturbing the enamel. Trauma to children whose teeth are still developing can interfere with the formation of the enamel.
How Do You Prevent Tooth Discoloration?
Most tooth discoloration is preventable through good dental habits. Smokers should consider quitting altogether. People who drink a lot of coffee or tea should consider cutting back as well as rinsing their teeth regularly. Adhere to a consistent dental regimen that includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, rinsing with mouthwash at least once a day, rinsing regularly and vigorously with water, and having your teeth examined and cleaned by a dentist or dental hygienist at least twice a year.
If your teeth have an abnormal color and you are unsure why, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Do this if you have any unexplainable symptoms related to color.
How Do You Reverse Tooth Discoloration?
If the tooth discoloration is not severe, you may be able to reverse it just through the lifestyle changes explored earlier. If the tooth discoloration is severe, your options include:
- Veneers and bondings
- Over-the-counter whitening agents
- Prescribed in-home whitening agents
- In-office teeth whitening procedures
Enjoy Beautiful White Teeth
You deserve bright white teeth that gleam and instill you with confidence. Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, and his team at Scottsdale Dental Excellence can help you do just that. Dr. Clark can provide personalized advice for preventing and reversing tooth discoloration. You will also have access to in-office teeth whitening that can restore your natural color in a lasting way! Call us at 480 585 1853 to learn more about your teeth whitening options and to schedule an appointment.