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Posted on: July 15, 2021
Reasons and Remedies for Tooth Discoloration
Stained and discolored teeth are a common concern for many people. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat teeth stains and also prevent them from developing in the first place. Find out what causes tooth stains and how you can treat and prevent them from happening by reading more below.
What Are the Causes of Stained Teeth?
You might be surprised to learn that stained and discolored teeth can happen for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons occur due to natural causes, and others happen as a result of your daily habits. For example, experiencing trauma to a tooth restricts blood flow, resulting in the death of the tooth’s nerve. Once this happens, the affected tooth might be gray, brown, or black in color. Sometimes trauma can be prevented by wearing a mouth guard, and sometimes it occurs unexpectedly. While it’s best to be prepared, some circumstances will be out of your control.
Tooth discoloration can also occur if you take certain medications, including antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and antibiotics. Aging is another cause of tooth discoloration and occurs as a result of tooth enamel wearing away. This exposes the dentin, which is naturally yellow in color. Other causes of tooth staining include smoking and using tobacco products, poor dental hygiene, genetics, and your diet.
Foods and Drinks That Cause Tooth Discoloration
The foods and drinks you consume can negatively or positively affect your health, and they can also affect the color of your teeth. Take a look at some of these foods and drinks that can discolor your smile and consider consuming them in moderation to prevent further staining.
- Dark-colored beverages: Red wine, coffee, tea, and other dark drinks can stain your teeth because they contain a chemical compound called tannins, which make it easier for stains to stick to teeth. Red wine and coffee are also very acidic, which can weaken tooth enamel.
- Sugary drinks: Frequently consuming beverages that are high in simple sugars, including fruit juice, sports drinks, and soda, can erode your tooth enamel over time. This can make your teeth appear darker in color.
- Starchy foods: Pasta, rice, white bread, cereals, and chips, crackers, and other foods composed of white flour are types of simple carbohydrates that break down into simple sugars. This sugar can affect your tooth enamel, causing stains.
- Sugary sweets and candy: Candies and other sweet foods are high in sugar, which can attack white tooth enamel and expose the yellow dentin underneath.
Food and Drinks That Prevent Discolored Teeth
Now that you know more about the foods and drinks that can contribute to tooth stains, it’s time to learn about which ones can preserve your white smile. Ensuring that your diet is nutrient-rich is one of the most effective ways to achieve a brighter smile. Make the following foods and drinks a regular part of your diet to help fight tooth stains.
- Milk and cheese: Milk, cheese, and other dairy products contain important vitamins and minerals that strengthen your teeth. Protein and calcium are helpful in protecting your white tooth enamel from the effects of acid erosion.
- Water: In addition to keeping you hydrated, drinking water regularly throughout the day benefits your teeth. To avoid stained teeth, try rinsing your mouth with water to wash away sugar, food debris, and acids that can attack your tooth enamel and lead to tooth discoloration. Other than water, sugar-free drinks are also a healthy option that can preserve your bright smile.
- Dark chocolate: Unlike other forms of chocolate, dark chocolate contains natural compounds called polyphenols that reduce oral bacteria. They can also neutralize acid, preventing enamel erosion before it occurs. Although beneficial, consume dark chocolate in moderation.
- Fibrous fruits and vegetables: Crunchy, fibrous fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, broccoli, and pears, fight against tooth stains by massaging your gums and scrubbing your teeth.
A Closer Look at Smoking and Tooth Discoloration
Depending on how long a person smokes, it’s common for smokers’ teeth to have tobacco stains, causing them to appear yellow, brown, dark brown, or even black. Staying away from tobacco and cigarettes is the best way to keep your teeth healthy and free from stains. However, if you’re not ready to ditch your smoking habit, these tips can help you reduce smoking stains from your teeth:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Brush your teeth after smoking.
- Receive professional teeth cleanings every six months.
- Practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily to reduce tooth stains. Use a mouthwash recommended by your dentist to prevent plaque.
Treatments That Reduce Tooth Discoloration
You don’t have to hide your smile from the world if you’re embarrassed by tooth discoloration. There are many tooth whitening options available, even for the most budget-conscious consumer. Consider the following popular treatments as options for a whiter smile.
- Whitening toothpastes: These types of toothpaste can remove mild surface stains, but they won’t deliver dramatic results because of their ineffectiveness at removing dark stains or deep tooth stains.
- Whitening kits purchased over-the-counter: While over-the-counter whitening kits can remove some tooth stains, they’re much weaker than professional treatments and take longer to produce results. They can also cause tooth sensitivity.
- At-home whitening kits from a dentist’s office: Whitening kits you receive from your dentist can remove most types of tooth stains and are much more effective than products bought over-the-counter.
- Professional whitening treatments: In-office treatments at your dentist’s office is the quickest way to remove tooth stains and discoloration and can produce dramatic whitening results in the shortest amount of time.
- Dental crowns or veneers: Crowns and veneers work by covering stained teeth, which can whiten and improve the color of your smile.
How to Prevent Tooth Discoloration
There are many things you can do to preserve the natural color of your teeth and prevent tooth stains. Make these dentist-approved tips part of your routine:
- Brush after eating snacks and meals.
- Rinse your mouth with water if you can’t brush after eating.
- Schedule regular professional dental cleanings.
Consume foods and drinks that contribute to tooth stains, like red wine, tea, or coffee, in moderation.
- Brush and floss daily.
We can help you achieve the whiter smile you’ve always wanted. Make your appointment today!