There are many circumstances that can cause teeth to discolor. Stains that affect the tooth enamel only are extrinsic and can be corrected. Discoloration that is embedded in the tooth is intrinsic and can’t be easily whitened.
Here are several reasons why teeth stain:
- 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.
- Medications: Sometimes medical treatments can contribute to teeth stain, and several classes of medications including high blood pressure medications, chemotherapy, antihistamines and some anti-psychotic medications can cause teeth stains. Certain medications discolor children’s teeth and is intrinsic.
- Advancing age: Age-related teeth stains combine the results of both intrinsic and extrinsic tooth discoloration. Because the core tissue of your teeth, the dentin, naturally yellows over time, teeth discolor with age. As we age, the enamel that covers the tooth becomes thinner, allowing the dentin to show through. These intrinsic causes of discoloration combined with extrinsic causes such as the effects of certain foods, beverages, and tobacco, will cause most adults’ teeth to discolor with age.
- Genetics: Some people have naturally brighter or thicker enamel than others.
- Environment: Excessive fluoride either from naturally high fluoride levels in water or from excessive use from fluoride applications, rinses, toothpaste, and fluoride supplements taken by mouth can cause teeth discoloration.
- Trauma: An intrinsic event would be damage from a fall which can disturb enamel formation in young children whose teeth are still developing. Trauma can also cause discoloration to adult teeth.
Here are some treatment options to whiten teeth:
- Using proper tooth brushing and flossing techniques.
- Avoiding foods and beverages that cause stains.
- Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored material is applied to a tooth and hardened with a special light which bonds the material to the tooth to improve the appearance of discolored teeth. This is an option for intrinsic stains.
- Applying veneers which are designed to cover the front surface of the tooth to improve the appearance of discolored teeth. This is another way to cover intrinsic stains.
- Using over-the-counter whitening agents.
- Seeing a dental professional who uses professional whitening products and procedures.
Call New Town Dentistry today to discuss the best way to whiten your teeth.