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Posted on: May 28, 2021
Reasons and Remedies for Tooth Discoloration
Yellow or stained teeth can make you hesitant to smile. If this is happening to you, it is time to evaluate why your teeth don’t look their best and do something about it. Stained teeth don’t have to be a permanent problem. For those of us that love coffee this is great news! However, there is no replacement for a strong dental hygiene routine that includes regular trips to the dentist. But, read on for more information on how you can improve the whiteness of your teeth at home.
What Causes Tooth Staining?
There are intrinsic and extrinsic teeth discoloration. Intrinsic stains are inside the tooth and beyond your control. Trauma and certain medications can cause intrinsic staining, and a dentist usually covers these stains with veneers, bonding or crowns. These are more permanent options that can last anywhere from four to eight years for inexpensive bonding to 10 to 20 years for the most expensive option, which is a crown. Extrinsic stains are on the outside of your teeth are commonly caused by dark foods and beverages or smoking. Teeth can also appear yellow because of age as the tooth enamel wears off.
What Foods Stain Teeth?
Certain beverages and foods will stain your teeth. It’s important to keep in mind that the staining will always be worse if you are not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. Dark foods and beverages can stain because of their color, but other foods and beverages stain because of their ability to attack the tooth enamel. Foods with a high sugar or starch content are the most likely culprits. Some staining foods include:
- Coffee and tea
- Red wine and colas
- BBQ sauce and other dark sauces, like soy sauce
- Tomato-based sauces
- Dark grape, cherry, blueberry, and cranberry fruits and juices
- Gummy-type candies
You don’t have to avoid these foods completely, and as long as you maintain a healthy dental hygiene routine, your teeth shouldn’t stain permanently. If you drink colas, use a straw to keep the cola off your front teeth.
What Foods Can Help Keep My Smile Bright?
Fortunately, there are foods and beverages that help prevent teeth staining.
Water is very healthy. Drinking it after consuming staining foods will help rinse the staining agents off.
- Low-fat, sugar-free milk and cheeses and help strengthen tooth enamel and make teeth more resistant to staining.
- Eating an apple or pear after consuming staining foods or beverages will help scrub your teeth.
- Crunchy raw veggies, like celery, carrots and broccoli also help scrub stains off teeth.
- Pineapples contain bromelain, which can break up tooth stains.
- Abrasive nuts will help buff away stains.
Is Smoking Dulling Your Smile?
Yes, it will if you smoke. It also causes bad breath and increases your risk of developing cavities, gum disease and oral cancer, not to mention other general health problems.
Does Tobacco Use Discolor Teeth?
Cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco discolor teeth. Unless they are vigilant about mitigating the damage, every tobacco user will show the telltale signs. The tar in tobacco will stain teeth an unappealing brown color. The nicotine in cigarettes can also turn teeth yellow.
How Can I Prevent Smoking From Yellowing My Teeth?
If quitting isn’t an option, there are ways to lessen the damage, including:
- Practicing excellent dental hygiene with give tar and nicotine less plaque to stick to.
- Get professional dental cleanings twice a year.
- Brush after tobacco use.
Ask one of our dentists about suggestions for quitting smoking. He or she can also explain how smoking inhibits your immune system and will make it far less likely you’ll heal quickly if you ever need dental surgery in the future.
How Can Smokers Whiten Their Teeth?
Dentists use or recommend the following teeth whitening methods for smokers:
- Whitening toothpastes can be used with care as they may make teeth sensitive with overuse.
- Whitening strips may also work for mild discoloration.
- Professional, in-office teeth whitening is the best option for medium to severe yellowing, although more than one treatment may be needed.
The stains will return if you continue with tobacco use. If you need help quitting, talk to your dentist or doctor for more information on the resources available to you. You don’t have to quit alone and it doesn’t have to be that painful.
What Can I Do to Prevent Tooth Staining at Home?
If you’ve worked hard to whiten your teeth, you’ll want to keep them that way. One of the best ways to maintain your white, bright smile is to use good oral hygiene practices more than once a day. If you need to, consider taking a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste to the office with you, or keep one in your bag for easy access. This will help you remember to brush when it’s most needed. We also suggest:
- Brush at least two times a day for one to two minutes and floss once daily.
- If you can’t brush after a meal, rinse well or chew sugarless gum
- If you drink a dark beverage, rinse afterward.
- Make appointments for regular dental checkups to avoid serious dental problems.
- Have professional dental cleanings twice a year.
How Can I Stop My Teeth From Becoming Discolored?
You have options if you’re tired of hiding your yellowed teeth and not smiling. Depending on the extent of the staining, we recommend:
- Whitening toothpastes can lighten teeth a shade or two if you have minor staining.
- Over-the-counter whitening products, like strips, work better than toothpastes, but not nearly as well as professional products.
- In-office professional teeth whitening works best, and the fastest for dramatic results.
- Dentists also offer custom at-home whitening systems that work exceptionally well, but take about two weeks to show results.
- For intrinsic staining, your dentist can place a veneer over the tooth which is a shell of porcelain that covers the front of the tooth.
Learn more about the possible causes of your tooth discoloration from our dentist and receive and receive suggestions for brightening your smile. He or she will discuss your expectations and help you choose the best option.