Understand the causes and treatments for tooth disoloration including methods on how to prevent
future discoloration of the teeth.
The signs of tooth discoloration are pretty clear: yellow, discolored, stained or even dark spots on the teeth.
The actual reasons and causes why our teeth become darken and discolored varies, including:
What we eat and drink can contain pigments that darken teeth. For example, coffee, tea, and red wines can stain
teeth. Foods that normally change color when exposed to air such as cherries, pomegranates and blueberries can also
contribute to tooth discoloration.
Smoking or chewing tobacco can stain teeth. Poor dental hygiene, which is represented by inadequate flossing and
brushing, can also be huge culprits for causing teeth discoloration.
High Concentration Of Fluoride
Drinking water or oral hygiene products such as mouth washes and rinses containing high floride levels can cause
staining of the teeth, producing a mottled appearance.
Antibiotics And Medications
If children whose teeth are still developing are given antibotics tetracycline and doxycycline can result in
intrinsic tooth discoloration. Pregnant mothers who use tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of
pregnancy can cause teeth discoloration to the child by affecting enamel development. In addition, medications such
as antihistamines, antidepressants, and antihypertensive drugs can also lead to discoloration of the teeth.
Certain medical treatments such as head radiation and chemotherapy for cancer treatment tend to affect both the
enamel and the dentin layers and as such can be responsible for teeth discoloration.
Certain types of dental work such as amalgam restorations that contain silver can lead to teeth turning a
Age Related Discoloration
Through time and age, the teeth accumulates more stains and tartars, causing it to look dull and discolored. In
addition, as people grow older, the enamel that protects the teeth gets eroded away, revealing the underlying
natural deeper yellow color of dentin.
Genes may play a role as to why some people have naturally brighter enamel than others.
A fall or any injuries that damage the nerves can also lead to dicolorations of the teeth.
What Treatments Options Are Available For Tooth
Treatments for tooth discoloration will vary according to the causes and may include:
In-Office Dental Whitening
For this method of eliminating tooth discoloration, your dentist will start by examining your teeth and
informing you about the different ways you can obtain whiter teeth, how the treatments work and what to expect from
the recommended treatments.
- For extrinsic tooth discoloration caused by foods and drinks, these stains can be easily removed by
applying a bleaching peroxide gel to the enamel of the teeth to help whiten them. The process will usually take
an hour and a laser may or may not be use to help speed up the whitening process.
- For teeth that are discolored by excessive fluoride, root canal treatment, consumption of tetracycline or
other drugs, the standard bleaching of the enamel will not be very effective. Instead dental veneers or bonding
are use to restore the teeth back to sparkling white. You will need to discuss the best choice of treatment
with your dentist.
At Home Bleaching
Home whitening is usually done with teeth whitening
kits, gels or strips. This method is more suitable for extrinsic tooth discoloration and will require
some work and time on your part.
Typically, a custom-fit or standard mouth tray and a whitening gel are used. You will then proceed to apply the
gel into the mouth trays and wear them each night for the recommended amount of time. You may need to use it
several times over the course of 1 to 3 weeks to achieve maximum results.
The main advantages for using home whitening kits are that they are a lot less expensive than in-office dental
Prevention of Tooth Discoloration
It is always better to prevent teeth from getting discolored than to treat them later on. And it's not difficult
as long as you are willing to make some simple lifestyle changes.
For example, you can start by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly after every meal and rinse the mouth
with water after the consumption of drinks such as coffee, wine or cola.
Using an ultrasonic toothbrush may also help significantly because it does a much better job at removing any
excess food that sits on tooth surfaces, staining them.
Going to the dentist every half a year for a clean up is also a very good way to prevent the teeth from getting
Another very healthy way to prevent natural tooth discoloration is to consider cutting back or quitting on
smoking and drinking coffee or wines.
Mouth rinses which have a high fluoride concentration should be avoided or at least the usage of these products
should be made minimal.
To prevent children from getting stained teeth, parents should always check out the fluoride concentration of
the water the family drinks, and this can be done by calling up the local health department.
By using all these preventive methods together, it’s possible to keep tooth discoloration at