Do you wish you had whiter teeth, but have no idea what is causing the problem? There are actually a number of reasons you may have tooth discoloration that you might not have considered. This is because teeth can be discolored by both extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Intrinsic tooth discoloration comes from within the tooth when the inner layer (known as dentin) either yellows or darkens. Extrinsic stains, on the other hand, are more commonly known stains caused by certain foods or smoking, for example. Here are five possible causes of your tooth discoloration that could be affecting your smile.
1. Certain Medications
Intrinsic discoloration can actually be caused by certain medications. For example, if your mother used tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of her pregnancy, then it could potentially be the cause of your tooth discoloration. Similarly, taking these antibiotics before you reach the age of 8 can cause this discoloration as well. Antibiotics aren’t the only medications that pose a risk, though, as blood pressure medications, antihistamines, chemotherapy, and certain antipsychotics can lead to stains as well.
Unfortunately, damaging an adult tooth is not only painful, but can leave the tooth permanently discolored. If you cause injury to a permanent tooth by falling, for example, internal bleeding can cause intrinsic discoloration within the tooth. Young children can even affect the color of their developing permanent teeth from external trauma.
As you age, your teeth naturally yellow over time. This is a result of both extrinsic and intrinsic discoloration. For starters, the dentin layer of your teeth becomes more yellow over the years. Your dental enamel also grows thinner with time, which makes the yellow dentin more visible. Extrinsic factors like smoking or eating certain foods gradually stain your teeth over time as well, which only further discolors your teeth with age.
4. Certain Foods and Beverages
It is no surprise that foods and beverages can leave stains on your teeth. Certain foods, however, are worse than others. For example, coffee, tea, wine, and dark sodas are particularly damaging. Foods with BBQ sauce, curry, or balsamic vinegar can also stain the teeth as well. Be careful not to eat foods that are sugary or highly acidic—including citrus fruits—as these can harm your dental enamel and cause your teeth to look dull.
5. Tobacco Usage
Smoking cigarettes is highly damaging to the appearance of your dental enamel. Tobacco products contain tar, which leaves dark brown residue on the surface of your teeth that is difficult to remove. The nicotine in cigarettes is also problematic, as it turns yellow when it comes in contact with oxygen. While these ingredients definitely contribute to teeth discoloration, the impact that tobacco products have on your oral health can be much more damaging to your aesthetic appearance. Smokers are more likely to have gum disease, oral cancer, and cavities as a result of the habit, all of which can damage the appearance of your smile.
If you have tooth discoloration, your dentist at Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics can help. Call one of our locations to schedule your appointment today!