What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

June 9, 2020 Published by Leave your thoughts

If you wonder what causes tooth discoloration, you are definitely not alone. That is a common inquiry in dentist offices in Phoenix, with tooth whitening being in high demand. Fortunately, there are causes of tooth discoloration that are within your control and may help you in your quest for a bright white smile. Here are eight causes of tooth discoloration:

  • Food and drink: Your morning coffee is a likely culprit for tooth stains. If you are a tea drinker, you are still not off the hook—tea is also a tooth stainer. Soda and wine are also guilty parties, and if you love starchy foods like potatoes and pasta, they will create a coat on your teeth that allows them to hold stains. Fortunately, you can reduce the effects of these foods and drinks by brushing soon after consumption and using straws to prevent direct contact of liquids with your teeth.
  • Tobacco use: Smoking and chewing tobacco are notorious for causing stains. While whitening can reduce the stains, they return quickly if you continue these habits.
  • Lack of dental hygiene: Despite the dental hygiene education we have likely received since childhood, many people still skip regular brushing and flossing. This allows stains to build up and attract plaque, which can lead to cavities. The same is true if you avoid your dental cleanings.
  • Medical treatments: Drugs and medications often affect tooth color. Head and neck radiation and chemotherapy are well known for discoloring teeth. Antibiotics affect enamel formation in children under the age of eight. If you use mouthwashes with chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium, you will likely face tooth stains. Antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs and antihypertensive medications also contribute to tooth stains. Among dental treatments, amalgam restoration adds a gray-black cast to teeth, especially if it contains silver sulfide.
  • Blunt force trauma: If you were hit in the mouth as a child, there is a chance the impact affected enamel formation. Adults can also face enamel compromise and stained teeth when an injury disrupts blood flow to the tooth or nerve.
  • Genetics: This one is unfortunately beyond your control. Thicker and whiter enamel runs in some families, and yours may not have been so blessed. The same is true with vulnerability to cavities and predisposition to dental disease—you may need to be more vigilant with your teeth to account for genetic factors.
  • Aging: As you grow older, the enamel on your teeth thins out and the yellow dentin just below the surface shows more. Dentin also grows more as you age, and that decreases pulp size. The result is a translucent and less-white tooth.
  • Environment: If you grew up with fluoridated water or were constantly encouraged to use fluoride mouthwash, you may develop fluorosis. The result is discoloration that appears like white spots on your teeth. While fluoride is helpful to dental health, you may wish to discuss with your dentist how much is actually too much.

Modern Smiles Family Dentistry in Phoenix can help you determine what is causing tooth discoloration in your case, and how to reduce the effects. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

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