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Tooth Discoloration: Treatment, Prevention, and Causes

Tooth Discoloration: Treatment, Prevention, and Causes

Your teeth may change in color anytime throughout your life. They may turn from white to dark or yellowish or develop dark or white spots. However, this can significantly impact your confidence and smile despite being a common problem. Fortunately, dentists offer both preventive measures and treatment options to address it.

Causes of Tooth Discoloration 

Many things can cause teeth discoloration or stains. These are the most common:

Foods and Beverages 

Highly acidic beverages, including popular ones like coffee, tea, wine, and certain juices, can stain teeth. Additionally, fruits like citrus, blueberries, and cherries can cause stains as well.

Tobacco  

People who smoke or chew tobacco are more likely to develop gum disease and other oral health problems. Thus, tooth discoloration is also more common in smokers than it is for non-smokers.

Aging 

As we age, our enamel gradually begins to wear away. This exposes the dentin underneath, which is naturally yellowish and darker in color.

Injuries 

Broken teeth caused by accidental slips or falls can weaken enamel, which can lead to teeth discolorations or stains.

Medications 

Medications like antipsychotics and antidepressants can also cause teeth discoloration. Hypertension and chemotherapy medications are also known culprits.

Health Conditions 

Celiac disease, liver disease, enamel hypoplasia, and calcium deficiency can also damage enamel and change the color of teeth.

Poor Oral Hygiene 

Unsurprisingly, people who don't brush their teeth regularly are more likely to have stained or discolored teeth. Therefore, bad oral hygiene leads to the growth and accumulation of bacteria, plaque, and tartar, resulting in stained teeth.

Genetics  

Some people are born with strong teeth and thick enamel; others have the opposite. Therefore, genetics can significantly impact the color of your teeth.

Different Types of Discoloration 

There are three different types of teeth discoloration. A dentist in St Pete Beach lists and explains each one below:

1. Extrinsic 

Extrinsic discoloration occurs on the enamel and the surface of the teeth. Often, this is due to substances that come into contact with the teeth, such as foods, drinks, and tobacco.

2. Intrinsic 

Intrinsic discoloration is caused by internal factors like medications, diseases, injuries, traumas, and tooth decay. Teeth affected by intrinsic discoloration are often grayish.

3. Age-related 

Teeth enamel loses its strength with age. This makes older people more vulnerable to discoloration. External and internal factors can also cause these age-related discolorations.

Tooth Discoloration Treatment 

Is tooth discoloration reversible? Yes. However, it's not possible if celiac disease or fluorosis is the cause of the discoloration.

Dental hygienists or dentists can prescribe products and procedures depending on the type of discoloration. The three most common tooth discoloration treatments they may recommend include:

Tooth-whitening Products 

Dentists often prescribe whitening strips or toothpaste for extrinsic discoloration. These products may not be effective in treating intrinsic discoloration of the teeth.

In-office Treatment  

For best results, an in-office treatment is the best. For long-lasting and immediate results, dentists use high levels of hydrogen peroxide. Therefore, regular dental visits and cleanings can also help you achieve whiter teeth.

Home Treatment  

Dentists can also recommend custom-made tooth-whitening trays that you can use at home. A whitening gel is usually added to the custom tooth-whitening tray before patients wear them for an hour each day or as your dentist recommends. Patients often see the result of at-home treatments after a few weeks.

How To Prevent Tooth Discoloration 

You can keep your teeth from getting stains or discolorations by:

Avoiding Certain Foods & Beverages 

Acidic foods and drinks are worth avoiding if you don't want your teeth to get stained or discolored. It would be best if you also avoided beverages like coffee, tea, and wine that can discolor teeth. Additionally, make sure to brush and floss your teeth after consuming them if avoiding them is impossible.

Living a Healthy Life  

We all know that smoking can cause serious health problems. So, quit smoking! You can also eat a healthier diet and live a healthy lifestyle that will improve your teeth and overall health.

Practicing  Good Oral Hygiene  

Regular checkups are a must for keeping your mouth healthy. Therefore, brushing twice daily and flossing every day will help you have whiter teeth. This will help to remove bacteria from the mouth.

Key Takeaway 

Teeth discoloration is a common dental problem that may lower a person's confidence and self-esteem. There are three types of discolorations based on their cause. Extrinsic discolorations are caused by external factors like foods or tobacco. However, internal factors like diseases or illnesses cause intrinsic discolorations. Lastly, age-related discolorations are caused by age-related factors that wear enamel down.

Fortunately, patients and dentists can work together to prevent it from happening. Dentists offer different teeth whitening options that they can perform in their offices or that patients can do at home. However, patients can also take precautions by avoiding acidic foods and beverages, living healthier, and practicing good oral hygiene. If you're looking at getting your teeth professionally whitened, you can check out this dentist who does teeth whitening, dental bonding, and dental implants in Chattanooga.

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