Having discolored teeth is very common, but it can still be a knock to your confidence. Although professional teeth whitening will treat the issue, prevention should always be your first goal. Discoloration can be extrinsic, intrinsic, or a combination, resulting from any of the following.
What Causes Teeth to Discolor?
1. Trauma or Injury
In young kids, mouth trauma disturbs enamel formation and leaves dentin—the inner structure of the teeth—thinly covered. This can result in a yellowish appearance, as dentin is yellow whereas enamel is white. When mouth injuries happen to adults, the impact can reduce blood flow, causing the nerve to die and the affected tooth to darken.
2. Foods & Drinks
Highly pigmented foods and beverages, such as blueberries, pomegranates, chocolates, coffee, red wine, and black tea, can stain enamel. Starchy foods, such as pasta and potatoes, also create an acidic environment in your mouth that can cause discoloration. To prevent staining, switch to less pigmented foods, reduce your intake, or brush your teeth after consumption.
3. Poor Oral Hygiene
If you have poor dental hygiene, plaque buildup will likely lead to stained or discolored teeth, as it appears yellow. Additionally, cavities often have a brown or black hue, which can similarly affect your smile's whiteness. Practice good habits to avoid this by brushing and flossing regularly.
Antibiotics, such as tetracycline and doxycycline, can affect enamel formation in children younger than eight, causing their teeth to appear discolored permanently. Additionally, maternal infections treated with tetracycline can impact enamel development in fetuses.
For adults, antihypertensive medications and antihistamines cause dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay and staining. Cancer may also indirectly cause tooth discoloration, as chemotherapy and radiation affect dentin and cause it to have a more yellow hue. While you shouldn't stop taking prescribed medication, you can talk to a doctor about alternatives or opt for teeth whitening.
Restore your pearly whites to their former glory with teeth whitening at Augusto S. Fojas, DDS. Proudly serving the community throughout Columbus, OH, and surrounding areas, Dr. Fojas and his staff provide general and cosmetic dentistry services, including oral exams, tooth extractions, and dental implants. To schedule an appointment for teeth whitening, call (614) 882-0275 or reach out on their website.