Reasons Your Teeth May Be Stained
Is your smile losing its luster? If your teeth just aren’t as brilliant as they once were, there could be a number of reasons for their discoloration. Whether it’s an internal cause or external factor that brought about the stain, a visit to your dentist office can help you determine the root of the problem and find the best long-term solution. Let’s explore a few of the common stain sources.
Food and Drinks
The things you eat and drink can discolor the surface layer of your teeth. This is especially true of deep colored items such as coffee and richly pigmented foods such as berries. Also, liquids that coat your teeth as they are consumed can expose your teeth to those pigmentations over and over, leaving discoloration behind. Whether you are consuming these stain-causing foods and drinks often or stains are accumulating over time from a variety of sources, what you consume can be one of the most common teeth stainers. If you’re teeth are generally yellowing or stained uniformly, this could be the cause.
Habits and Routines
As you are trying to uncover the root of the problem, it’s important to consider your teeth-staining habits. Are there certain things you consume daily, such as red wine? A switch to white wine may mitigate some of that pigmentation exposure.
Another common cause of staining is smoking. As a regular habit, smoking can leave behind nicotine stains on your teeth. This is also true of other uses of nicotine, including chewing, dipping, cigars and pipe use.
Trauma or Disease
Sometimes the problem is deeper than a surface stain. Your teeth may be discolored from an underlying issue, which impacted the core of the tooth, rather than just the enamel on the outside. Sometimes called an “intrinsic” reason, these often occur as a tooth is developin
g in childhood. Certain illnesses, use of antibiotics and other medications, or trauma to a tooth as it is developing, such as a sports injury, could cause a tooth to be discolored.
To maintain a bright smile, you may want to avoid certain stainers, as mentioned above. Limiting and eliminating tobacco exposure is an important step, for stains and for your overall health. You can avoid certain foods and drinks, such as red wine or coffee. Limiting exposure can certainly help stains from building up over time. But you may not want to avoid all bright colored foods and drinks. For instance, fruits such as berries and vegetables like beets are good for your body. If you want to continue to consume brightly colored foods and drinks, make sure to brush well after you do to remove the pigmentation before it can become a stain.
There are many options for whitening your teeth after stains have set in, especially for those surface level stains. For intrinsic stains, developed inside a tooth, your dentist may recommend composite bonding or veneers to cover the stain. For surface level stains, speak with your dentist about bleaching or other whitening options. She may offer some in-office options, available at your next appointment.
If you have any questions about teeth whitening and what’s causing your stains, call and make an appointment or fill out our contact form.