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Reasons and Remedies for Tooth Discoloration

Dark and discolored teeth can negatively impact your sense of confidence. Find out what you can do to make your smile whiter and improve your self-esteem.

What Leads to Cases of Discolored Teeth?

There are many different causes of stained and discolored teeth. Some of these causes are completely within your control, while others happen due to natural causes. The primary culprits behind stained teeth are trauma to a tooth, certain medications and aging. Aging leads to the protective layer of enamel on the teeth slowly wearing away, which exposes the dark layer of tooth underneath that is known as dentin. Outside forces that can lead to tooth discoloration include tobacco use and your choices of food and drink.

Eating Certain Things Can Lead to Tooth Discoloration

Many of the foods and drinks that people enjoy consuming can lead to tooth discoloration. The following foods and drinks are more likely to stain your teeth:

  • Sugary Beverages – Drinks that are full of sugar (such as sports drinks, fruit juices, and sodas) contain sugars and acids that wear down the enamel, leaving your teeth looking darker.
  • Dark Drinks – Consuming tea, coffee, and red wine on a regular basis can also lead to discolored teeth. These beverages also contain acids that erodes tooth enamel.
  • Sweet Snacks – Candy and gum are full of sugar. This sugar attacks the teeth and wears down tooth enamel.
  • Starchy Foods – Foods containing starches (rice, potatoes, pasta, cereals, and white breads) also contain sugars that remove tooth enamel when not removed through thorough brushing and flossing.

Prevent Discolored Teeth by Eating Certain Foods

Just as certain foods can discolor your teeth, there are foods and drinks that you can consume that can help to keep your teeth white. One of the most important things to remember when it comes to preventing stained teeth is to eat a balanced diet containing a variety of nutrients. To keep your smile as white as possible, eat and drink the following items:

  • Water – Water is the best way to keep your thirst at bay. In addition, it is also the best way to avoid discolored teeth. That’s because water rinses sugars, acids, and food particles from your mouth. This keeps the enamel from wearing away and prevents stained teeth.
  • Sugar-Free Drinks – If you want to drink something other than water, it’s best to drink a beverage that contains no sugar.
  • Milk and Cheese – Dairy neutralizes the acids within your mouth because it increases the flow of saliva. It also contains protein and calcium both of which make your teeth stronger.
  • Fish and Flax Seeds – Both of these choices contain omega-3 fatty acids. These are strong anti-inflammatory nutrients that can assist in protecting you from gum disease.
  • Cocoa – Recent research indicates that cocoa can reduce inflammation. It can also protect you from tooth decay and enamel erosion.

Has Your Smoking Habit Led to Tooth Discoloration?

Nearly every smoker has teeth that are stained because of their smoking. Educate yourself on the best methods to both treat and prevent discoloration caused by smoking.

How Tobacco Stains the Teeth

There’s no denying the fact that tobacco use is one of the leading causes of tooth discoloration and staining. The best way to avoid this unsightly issue is to avoid smoking and using tobacco in any of its forms. Not only does tobacco harm your overall health, but it also impacts your smile by leading to gum disease, as well as staining your teeth with a gray or yellow tint.

Fix Your Stained Teeth Caused by Smoking

While there are many warnings given to people about using tobacco, there are many who still aren’t ready to rid themselves of the habit. If you aren’t ready to quit using tobacco, here are some tips to reduce tooth discoloration caused by smoking and other tobacco use:

Have your teeth cleaned by a dental professional at least twice a year.

  • Brush, floss, and utilize an antibacterial mouth wash every day so that you can prevent plaque from building up on the surface of your teeth.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal, as well as after using tobacco products.
  • Maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

Learn How You Can Whiten Your Smile

If you smoke, you may have written off teeth whitening, thinking that it is something that would never work for you. However, there are a number of different whitening options available for every level of tooth discoloration. If you continue to smoke after receiving whitening treatments, it’s important that you understand that the discoloration will most likely come back. Talk to your dentist about the below tooth whitening choices:

  • Over-the-counter toothpastes that are designed to whiten the teeth. These can improve stains and help you avoid future discoloration. However, they can also make your teeth more sensitive.
  • At-home tooth whitening treatments are another option. These can reduce minor stains, but may also result in tooth sensitivity.
  • Professional whitening treatments conducted by a dentist. These work faster and also produce the most dramatic results.

How You Can Prevent Discoloration of Your Teeth

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to assist in the prevention of tooth discoloration. Follow these tips to keep unsightly tooth stains at bay:

  • Achieve excellent oral hygiene while at home via brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an ADA-approved mouthwash every day, as instructed by your dentist.
  • Make sure you brush your teeth after eating.
  • Rinse out your mouth with water whenever you consume dark-colored drinks.
  • Don’t put off needed dental treatments, as many dental issues can lead to discoloration of the teeth.
  • Receive professional dental cleanings on a consistent basis.

Treatments that Tackle Discolored Teeth

If you’ve been keeping your smile hidden away due to stained or discolored teeth, it’s time to see your dentist. He or she will be able to prescribe a number of tooth whitening treatments for you to pursue. These include:

  • Professional whitening performed by your dentist. This gives you the fastest and most dramatic results.
  • At-home whitening kits provided to you by your dentist. These kits can get rid of most discoloration, however they can take more time than in-office whitening treatments.
  • Over-the-counter whitening kits aren’t as strong as the kind you receive from your dentist. This means that it will take longer to achieve the shade you want.
  • Tooth whitening toothpastes are able to eliminate lighter stains.
  • Dental crowns and veneers are capable of covering up stains that aren’t able to be removed via the use of whitening products.

Talk to your dentist about which option is best for you and your needs.

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