Posted on: July 15, 2021
Reasons and Remedies for Tooth Discoloration
Are you less confident in your smile due to tooth stains and discoloration? Many people experience stained teeth. Luckily, there are many treatments available that will whiten your teeth if you find your smile less than white. Additionally, to help prevent stains in the first place, there are techniques you can use to reduce stains from forming, such as brushing and flossing regularly and avoiding certain foods.
Factors That Cause Stained Teeth
There are many factors that can contribute to tooth stains, some of which may surprise you. Both natural causes and your personal habits can cause stains to develop on your teeth. If you smoke or chew tobacco, you’re at a huge risk for tooth stains. Genetics, failing to brush and floss every day, and the foods and drinks you regularly consume can also lead to tooth stains.
Some medications, such as antibiotics, antihistamines, and blood pressure medications, can also discolor your teeth, as can the aging process. Over time, tooth enamel wears away, which exposes the yellow-colored dentin layer. If you experience an injury that affects your teeth or mouth, it can reduce blood flow to the affected teeth, leading to teeth that are brown, black, or gray in color.
Everyday Foods and Drinks That Discolor Teeth
It’s no surprise that your diet can affect your overall health, but you might not know that the foods and drinks that many of us consume each day can discolor your teeth. The most stain-causing foods and drinks include the following:
- Sugary beverages: Soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks are usually high in sugar, which can weaken your tooth enamel when consumed regularly and make them appear darker in color.
- Dark-colored beverages: Drinks containing tannins, such as tea, red wine, and coffee, can make it easier for stain particles to adhere to your teeth. Coffee and red wine also have high acidity levels, which can erode tooth enamel over time.
- Candy: The bacteria in your mouth can feed on the high sugar content in most candies and other sweets. The bacteria release acids as they consume the sugar, increasing your risk of tooth decay, which can darken the white enamel.
- Curry: Curry is the deeply pigmented spice frequently found in Indian cuisine. Most curry powders contain a bright yellow spice called turmeric, which can stain your teeth when eaten regularly.
- Dark-colored berries: Most varieties of berries, from cranberries to blueberries to blackberries, can stain your teeth due to their dark color. This can occur whether you enjoy whole berries, jellies, jams, or juices.
Eat These Foods and Drinks to Prevent Tooth Stains
Adding the right foods and drinks to your diet can help you maintain a whiter, more luminous smile. Prioritizing a nutrient-dense diet that’s low in sugar is the key to a bright smile. Improve your smile’s appearance with these foods and drinks:
- Water: Drinking water throughout the day and rinsing your mouth with water after meals can neutralize acids and wash away sugar and food particles that damage enamel, leading to tooth stains.
- Pineapples: Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which helps to remove stains and discoloration by breaking up plaque. The bacteria in plaque can produce acids that gradually wear away tooth enamel.
- Crunchy vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, and celery are a few examples of crunchy vegetables that can whiten your teeth when eaten raw. As you chew these vegetables, they gently scrub the surface of your teeth, which can gently remove stains.
- Cheese and milk: Milk and cheese contain phosphorous, protein, and calcium, which are important elements for strengthening your teeth and preventing enamel erosion, which can make your teeth appear yellow in color.
- Seeds and nuts: Many types of seeds and nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, almonds, and sunflower seeds, work as a type of exfoliant. This means that they can buff away discoloration and stains from the surface of your teeth.
How Does Smoking Discolor Teeth?
Tar is an ingredient found in tobacco products, and it can stain the surface of your teeth a dark brown color. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which can stain your teeth yellow. To avoid these types of dark stains that are difficult to remove, it’s best to completely avoid cigarettes and all forms of tobacco. If you’re not ready to quit, follow these pointers to minimize smoking stains:
- Brush your teeth after smoking.
- Receive professional teeth cleanings every six months. This is very important to preventing serious and expensive problems with your teeth. Call your dentist to schedule a cleaning today!
- Practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily to reduce tooth stains.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
How to Get Rid of Tooth Stains
Professional tooth whitening is the quickest and easiest way to achieve a dramatically whiter smile. The procedure is completely safe when performed by an experienced dentist and delivers instant whitening results.
You can also receive home whitening trays from your dentist. Although these might be more convenient to use since you can use them at home, they’re not as efficient as professional treatments, so you won’t achieve the same whitening results. Commercial whitening kits and strips purchased over-the-counter may remove some mild stains, but they can cause tooth sensitivity or even damage your teeth when used incorrectly. Whitening toothpastes provide the least effective whitening results and can also make your teeth more sensitive when used every day.
Cosmetic restorations, such as veneers or crowns, are an option for people with deeply stained teeth that don’t respond to professional whitening treatments. Veneers cover the front of your teeth and can dramatically improve the color of your smile. Crowns are placed over the surface of teeth and can also whiten your smile.
How to Prevent Tooth Discoloration
You don’t have to let tooth stains put a damper on your smile and confidence levels. Make these tips part of your oral health routine:
- Brush and floss daily to remove stains and plaque.
- Schedule regular professional dental cleanings twice a year.
- Brush after eating snacks and meals.
- Swish your mouth with water if you can’t brush after eating.
- Drink through a straw when drinking dark-colored beverages or acidic drinks.
Contact your dentist today to find out how you can whiten your smile.