Teeth Stains: Types, Causes, and Prevention

Teeth Stains: Types, Causes, and Prevention

  • Teeth Stains: Types, Causes, and Prevention

Tooth discolouration is one of the most common oral health problems. However, it can be prevented and treated. Preserve your pearly whites by knowing what can impact their whiteness. Here is a lowdown on the types, causes, treatments, and prevention of teeth stains.

Types of Tooth Discolouration

Teeth can darken develop dark spots over time. There are many possible reasons why you have stained teeth. It falls into the following three categories:

  • Age-related – As you get older, the enamel on your teeth starts to wear away, which results in the yellowing of teeth as the dentin is exposed.
  • Extrinsic – This type refers to external factors or substances that affect tooth surfaces when they come into contact with your teeth.
  • Intrinsic – This type refers to stains that are within the tooth, and it often appears grayish. It can make it more resistant to over-the-counter whitening products.

Stains by Colour

What's the colour of your smile?

Teeth stains come in various colours. By determining the colour of the stain, you can ascertain the potential causes of discolouration.

  • Black – If your tooth has a black spot, see your dentist immediately. Black stains can be a symptom of dental diseases. Other causes include liquid iron supplements and tartar, which can stain teeth since they can appear black.
  • Brown – Bacteria-filled plaque might be responsible for your teeth turning brown. Brown spots may be due to a buildup of plaque on your teeth, which can result in tooth decay if left untreated.
  • Purple – Some people like to unwind with a glass of wine. However, regular drinkers of the beverage have the tendency to develop a purple tinge on their teeth.
  • Yellow – Smokers or people who chew tobacco may develop yellow stains on their teeth. Other possible causes include staining beverages (like soda), a diet that’s high on simple sugars, or specific medications.
  • White – You may have white spots on your teeth because of excessive fluoride. A cavity can also produce one that turns darker as it becomes more advanced.

What Causes Your Teeth to Stain

Teeth discolouration is quite common, and it can happen for many reasons. Here are what causes your teeth to stain:

  • Food and DrinkWhat you consume can cause teeth discolouration by staying onto the outer layers of your tooth structure. Here are several common foods and beverages which can leave behind a stain:

Certain delicious treats can discolour teeth

    • coffee
    • fruits (e.g. apples, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, pomegranates)
    • red sauces (e.g. tomato sauce)
    • red wine
    • sodas
    • tea
  • Poor Dental Hygiene
    Not practicing proper dental hygiene (brushing, flossing, and rinsing) can lead to tooth discolouration. Only 37.5% of Canadians brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day.
    • Dental Materials
      Some of the dental components that are crucial for specific tooth restorations can stain teeth. For example, silver sulphide-containing materials are capable of casting a gray-black colour to your teeth.
    • Tobacco Use
      Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco can lead to teeth discolouration. Additionally, stained teeth are more common among smokers as opposed to non-smokers.
    • Excess fluoride
      Exposure to too much fluoride can happen due to environmental sources, like water supply with naturally high fluoride levels. You may also be applying too much fluoride to your teeth via toothpaste, rinses, and fluoride supplements.

The fluoride levels in the water you're using may be naturally high

  • Medication
    Tetracycline and doxycycline are antibiotics that can cause tooth discolouration in kids. Young children who are taking such medication can stain their still-developing teeth. Antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs, and medicines for high blood pressure may also lead to teeth discolouration.
  • Ageing
    Your teeth are extremely durable, but everyday wear and tear can still take a toll on them. As you age, you begin to lose the outer layer of enamel on your teeth, which reveals the dentin. The dentin is a bony tissue found underneath the enamel and is naturally yellow.
  • Disease
    Several diseases affect your enamel and dentin, which can lead to tooth discolouration. Treatments for certain conditions, like head and neck radiation and chemotherapy, may also change the colour of your teeth. Through altering their babies’ enamel development, certain infections affecting pregnant women can also contribute to tooth discolouration.
  • Trauma
    Trauma can affect your smile in two ways. Not only can it make teeth ache, but it can also disturb the enamel formation of developing teeth in children.

Tooth Discolouration Treatments

In-office treatments works very quickly and may also last longer

Many products and procedures can help reduce the appearance of stains and brighten your smile.

  • In-Office Treatment
    An in-office treatment works quickly, and you often may only need an hour to whiten your teeth. The effect might also last longer since your dentist will use a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide compared to over-the-counter products.
  • At-Home Treatments Through Your Dentist
    Your dentist can also help you brighten your teeth at home. They can make custom-fit trays to use on your teeth. Add a gel to the tray and wear it for 30 minutes to 1 hour a day, depending on your dentist’s recommendation. It can take a few weeks before you can see noticeable results.
  • Over-the-Counter Products
    Another option is to have a teeth whitening kit consisting of different teeth whitening products. However, they don’t contain carbamide peroxide, or they have much less than the products dentists use. These may not work as effectively or might take longer to whiten your teeth if they’re intrinsically discoloured.
  • Whitening Strips
    Whitening strips contain a smaller amount of hydrogen peroxide. Apply them once or twice a day to your teeth for a set period, as written in the instructions. There are different types of whitening strips available, each offering different concentrations of bleaching agents.
  • Whitening Toothpaste
    Whitening toothpaste doesn’t contain carbamide peroxide. Instead, it concentrates on the surface of your teeth with different substances, including abrasives and the chemical blue covarine. They may take time to work.

Before using any over-the-counter solutions, talk to your dentist so you can avoid problems like tooth sensitivity and keep from aggravating oral issues.

Be sure to visit your dentist for your regular teeth cleaning. No matter the cost, having routine teeth cleanings and checkups can help lessen the appearance of spots and stains.

Tooth Discolouration Prevention

Brush and floss your teeth regularly to prevent discolouration

Keep discolouration away from your teeth by doing the following:

  • Practice Good Dental Hygiene – Brush your teeth with whitening toothpaste for 2 minutes twice per day. Floss at least once a day.
  • Change Your Habits – Reduce your consumption of foods and drinks that can stain your teeth. Reduce your usage of tobacco products or quit altogether.
  • Be Mindful with Pigmented Food – If you’re going to consume food or beverages that can stain your teeth, brush and floss once you’ve finished.

Teeth discolouration is something that can happen to anyone. If you notice that your teeth are turning a different colour, there’s no need to worry. These tips can help you treat and manage them so you can preserve the health and appearance of your teeth.

Call Cosmo Dental Centre; our team offers excellent teeth whitening services, which can surely put a smile on your face. For more information, contact us at (519) 659-2767 or email us at cosmodentalcentre@bellnet.ca.

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