3 Causes of Tooth Stains

Do your teeth appear yellower, darker, or duller in color? Dental discoloration can disrupt the look of your smile, making you feel self-conscious and less confident in your daily life as a result.

A dentist can offer teeth whitening treatment to enhance your tooth color, but there are also steps you can take to preserve the way your smile appears too. Knowing what causes tooth discoloration can help you to avoid this cosmetic dental concern. Read on to learn three contributors to tooth stain formation and how you can counteract these threats to the appearance of your smile.

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What Factors Lead to Dental Discoloration?

Consuming Substances with Staining Agents

A major reason behind many cases of dental discoloration is consuming foods, drinks, and other items that contain staining agents. Dark-colored food items, like red wine, coffee, and tea, get their appearance from tannins. These tannins will transfer to your teeth and absorb into the enamel, leaving stains behind on the surface.

You cannot remove this discoloration with your usual at-home dental care. You might reduce the chances of staining your teeth with some precautionary measures, like sipping dark beverages through a straw. But these efforts will not eliminate the risk entirely.

Habits like smoking or chewing tobacco products will also leave dark stains on your teeth. Avoid this behavior and pay attention to your diet to preserve your tooth color. While your dentist can use teeth whitening treatment to brighten your smile, you can prevent stains and protect your natural teeth too.

Underlying Dental Health Concerns

Sometimes dental discoloration can form as a symptom of another oral health problem. For instance, cavities, the early form of tooth decay, can present as white, brown, or black spots on the tooth.

When a dentist treats the cavity, then these stains will often go away. But ignoring the cavity can worsen tooth decay and you might see extensive dental damage, including in the tooth’s appearance.

You might also see a darkening or dullness in your tooth color if you sustain an injury to your tooth pulp. A blow to the face may hurt your tooth and restrict blood flow to the pulp. Call your dentist as soon as you can if you experience this dental injury.

Other Factors Beyond Patient Control

Even with diligent at-home and in-office dental care, you could still form tooth stains due to factors outside your control. Certain medicines, for instance, have the side effect of creating stains on your smile.

Aging will also weaken your teeth over time, making them more susceptible to discoloration. You should visit your dentist for regular check-ups. They can make sure your smile stays strong and continues to look its best.

The dentist can also offer individualized preventative dental care to ensure your oral health treatments suit your unique needs. Contact your dentist today to learn more, either online or by phone at 919.899.4467.