Your smile is a reflection of your personality and confidence, but tooth discolouration can hinder its radiance. Understanding the common causes of tooth discolouration can help you take proactive steps towards a healthier smile. In this blog, we will discuss the factors contributing to tooth discolouration.
1. Food and Beverages
Certain types of food and beverages can stain our teeth over time, leading to discolouration. These include:
- Coffee and Tea: These popular beverages contain chromogens or pigmented compounds that adhere to the enamel of our teeth and cause stains.
- Red Wine: The rich colour and tannins in red wine contribute to tooth discolouration.
- Dark-Coloured Berries: Blueberries, blackberries and other deeply pigmented berries can leave stains on our teeth.
- Sauces: Dark sauces like soy sauce, tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar contain colourants that can discolour teeth.
- Coloured Sodas: Carbonated beverages, especially those with artificial colours, can stain teeth due to their high sugar and acidity content.
To minimise the impact of these staining agents, you can:
- Drink these beverages through a straw to minimise contact with your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with water after consuming them.
- Brush your teeth approximately 30 minutes after consumption to avoid brushing when the enamel is temporarily softened.
2. Poor Oral Hygiene
Maintaining proper oral hygiene is important for a healthy smile. Neglecting to brush and floss regularly allows plaque and tartar to accumulate on the teeth, leading to tooth discolouration. These substances can cause the teeth to appear yellow or brownish. To combat poor oral hygiene:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently to avoid damaging the enamel.
- Visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings and check-ups to remove tartar build-up and detect any dental issues early.
As we age, our teeth naturally undergo changes that can lead to discolouration. Over time, the outer layer of enamel becomes thinner, revealing the yellowish dentin beneath it. Dentin is the inner layer of the tooth and naturally has a more yellowish colour. Additionally, wear and tear over the years can make the teeth more susceptible to stains. Although we cannot stop the ageing process, there are steps we can take to minimise age-related discolouration:
- Practice good oral hygiene to preserve the enamel and maintain a healthy smile.
- Consider professional teeth-whitening treatments or cosmetic procedures to brighten your teeth.
- Consult with your dentist to explore options for addressing age-related discolouration.
4. Trauma and Dental Procedures
Physical trauma to the teeth, such as accidents or injuries, can lead to discolouration. When a tooth is injured, it may react by producing more dentin, which can darken the tooth. Additionally, certain dental procedures and materials can contribute to tooth discolouration over time. These may include:
- Root Canal Treatment: While the procedure itself does not cause discolouration, it can make the tooth more susceptible to staining.
- Amalgam Fillings: Silver-coloured amalgam fillings can cause a greyish appearance on the tooth surface.
In some cases, tooth discolouration can be hereditary. Certain individuals may be genetically predisposed to have naturally darker or more yellowish teeth. While genetics play a role in tooth colour, it is still important to practice good oral hygiene and seek professional dental care to minimise discolouration.
Teeth Whitening for a Brighter Smile
At Cairns Precision Dental Group, we offer Philips Zoom in-chair bleaching. With light-activated technology, this treatment can whiten your teeth several shades in one visit. Our dentists also provide custom-fitted trays for take-home whitening. If you have discoloured teeth, contact us to learn more about your options.