One of the first things noticeable about you is your smile. A perfect set of white teeth is what everyone wants. Have you observed that your teeth aren’t as white as they used to be and maybe not as white as you’d like?
Tooth discoloration is a cause of concern to a lot of people because of the aesthetics that come with having a white set of teeth. There are a lot of things that can make your teeth brown or even black. But there are just as many ways to reverse and even prevent tooth discoloration.
What causes tooth discoloration?
A white, healthy smile is on almost everyone’s wish list. Your teeth may discolor for a variety of causes. Some factors are beyond our control, such as age or childhood accidents that may disrupt the development of our teeth enamel. That’s why you should talk to your dentist about any intentions you have for teeth whitening. He or she will be able to tell you whether your tooth darkening is just the result of lifestyle factors, such as drinking too much coffee, or if it is more of a dental health issue.
Although teeth whitening is typically done for cosmetic reasons, your dentist can advise you on the best treatment options for the staining you have. The good news is that correcting dental discoloration is frequently possible. It’s for this reason that pursuing a white, healthy smile is worthwhile.
Stains on the teeth produced by bad habits:
- Foods/drinks that produce staining include coffee, tea, colas, wines, and some starchy foods like pasta or potatoes.
- Tobacco use: Tobacco use, whether smoking or chewing, can discolor teeth.
Tooth discoloration as a result of poor dental health:
- Poor dental hygiene: Not brushing and flossing your teeth can lead to plaque and food stains. Putting off professional dental cleanings might lead to the formation of stains.
- Dental discoloration can be caused by diseases that inhibit the proper development of tooth enamel (the white exterior of your teeth) and dentin (the porous “yellower” substance beneath the enamel). Teeth discoloration can be caused by medical treatments such as head and neck radiation and chemotherapy. Some illnesses in pregnant women can harm your baby’s enamel growth and darken its teeth.
- Medications: It has long been recognized that certain medications can darken teeth in children who are still growing. Tetracycline and doxycycline medicines can damage enamel formation in children under the age of eight. Teeth can be stained by mouth rinses and washes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride. Teeth discoloration can also be caused by antihistamines (such as Benadryl®), antipsychotic medicines, and hypertension drugs.
- Dental materials: Some amalgam restorations, particularly those containing silver sulfide, might give your teeth a gray-black tint.
- Aging: As you become older, the outer coating of enamel on your teeth wears away, revealing the yellow dentin beneath. As you become older, your tooth dentin expands, reducing the size of the pulp. The tooth’s translucency decreases, making it appear darker.
- Genetics: Enamel that is thicker and whiter runs in some families.
- Environment: Too much fluoride in the environment (high fluoride levels in water) or through excessive use (fluoride treatments, rinses, toothpaste) during tooth formation can cause fluorosis, which appears as white patches on teeth.
- Trauma: Children can be smacked in the mouth when participating in sports. If they are under the age of eight, the injury may interfere with the production of enamel. Trauma can also discolor adult teeth when blood flow to the tooth is reduced or the nerve dies due to a sports injury or other impact.
Is it a common thing to have discolored teeth?
While no one knows for sure how many of us have discolored teeth, it’s apparent that our dental health and whiteness are important to us. Whitening goods and procedures are very popular these days because we perceive a bright smile as a social status signal. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the majority of us (99 percent) regard our smile to be our most essential social attribute.
A quick stroll down the oral care aisle of any drugstore displays a diverse selection of whitening trays, strips, toothpaste, and mouthwashes. We are now, more than ever, putting our money where our mouths are, spending more on over-the-counter and professional whitening products and procedures each year. If you’re ready to whiten your teeth, there are solutions for every budget — but it’s important to know which ones are safe and effective — and which ones could cause more harm than good.
Treatment of tooth discoloration
Treatment options differ, and not everyone is a good candidate for every type of whitening procedure. The type of discoloration on your teeth will decide how many shades lighter they will become. Keep in mind that whitening products are not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is why you should always see your dentist before using one.
Is it possible to whiten dental restorations such as crowns or veneers?
Bonding, veneers, crowns, bridges, dentures, and implants are examples of dental restorations that cannot be whitened since they are constructed of manufactured materials, mainly porcelain. Only natural enamel teeth can be whitened, and only if the cause is reversible, as determined by your dentist. Your dentist may recommend one or more of the following treatments, depending on the source of the discoloration.
Whitening at home:
- Avoiding meals and beverages that cause stains. Teeth discoloration can be caused by our habits.
- Using over-the-counter dental whiteners in the form of stick-on strips or tooth-shaped trays.
- Cleaning your teeth with regular tooth brushing and flossing practices on a daily basis is essential. (Though you should be practicing good dental care anyway, stepping up your game can improve the appearance of your teeth if your habits aren’t up to par.)
Whitening by a professional:
- A dentist performs professional whitening in the office, using professional whitening materials and treatments to speed up the whitening process. A hydrogen peroxide solution will be applied by your dentist. To speed up the bleaching process, some items may require heat and a particular light. Other professionally available goods will have a stronger whitener concentration, sometimes with desensitizer, and a bespoke tray for improved whitener adhesion. In the hands of a qualified dentist, the treatment is completely safe.
- Dental bonding is a treatment in which your dentist uses a special curing light to set a white resin on your tooth. To improve the color and structure of your smile, the light ‘bonds’ the resin to the tooth.
- Dental crowns can whiten your smile while protecting, covering, and restoring damaged teeth. Your dentist can match the color of a crown to the color of your other teeth.
- Dental veneers are porcelain ‘shells’ that are custom-made to cover the front of your teeth and improve their color and shape. They’re little and thin, roughly the same size as a false fingernail. If you opt for veneers, your dentist will advise you to avoid biting into hard foods with your front teeth in order to avoid breaking.
Is it possible to whiten your teeth naturally at home, and is it safe?
It’s understandable if you want to try DIY home whitening. Why not if it works, is natural, and is less expensive? Right? “Do these teeth whitening tricks you see in magazines and on blogs actually work?” are the first questions you should ask yourself. Is it safe to whiten your teeth?” In most circumstances, the answer to one or both of these questions is no, according to the American Dental Association.
Here are some home whitening dos and don’ts:
- Fruit is delicious, but it’s bad for your teeth. Citric acid, which is found in fruits, is never a good idea to utilize because it erodes enamel. If the magazine recommends to use anything inherently acidic (like lemons, oranges, or apple cider vinegar), don’t. Save it for eating or cooking. Long-term citrus exposure is like immersing your teeth in an acid bath, and it will erode enamel.
- According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, activated charcoal or a baking soda-hydrogen peroxide paste are unproven as an effective or safe technique to whiten teeth. Baking soda is an abrasive ingredient that can wear away the enamel on your teeth, which is essential for keeping them white and healthy. If you lose too much enamel, the second layer, the porous yellowish dentin, will be exposed. This can turn your teeth yellow, making them more susceptible to stains and cavities.
- Oils and spices have been advertised on the internet and in periodicals as natural tooth whiteners. Unfortunately, the American Dental Association states that there is no evidence that turmeric will make your teeth whiter, nor that “pulling oil” (swishing coconut oil in your mouth) would make your pearly whites any whiter. It’s best to keep both for cooking.
- Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, once when you get up and once before you go to bed.
- To be safe, choose the right paste. Look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance for whitening toothpaste. This indicates that it has been approved by a dentist.
- Floss between your teeth at least once a day.
- Foods and beverages that stain teeth, such as cola, coffee, tea, and red wine, should be avoided.
- To avoid staining your front teeth, keep a clean reusable straw on available to sip beverages.
- After drinks that contain acid and/or may stain, such as juice, lemonade, coffee, or red wine, sip water and rinse your mouth.
- To keep tobacco stains at bay, quit smoking.
Prevention of tooth discoloration
It’s important about developing good habits when it comes to your teeth. You might be able to avoid tooth discoloration by making a few simple lifestyle modifications. If you’re a coffee drinker, try cutting back or switching to a different beverage. Also, if you smoke, get help quitting because smoking has far-reaching consequences that go beyond your tooth health. Brush and floss regularly, and have regular dental check-ups and cleanings every six months to improve your dental hygiene. Make an appointment with your dentist if your teeth appear to be an abnormal hue that persists despite your best dental hygiene efforts, and if other symptoms are present.