Nobody wants stained teeth. It can be embarrassing and make you self-conscious when you smile. Not to mention, it’s just not attractive. There are two main types of teeth stains: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains are the most common and occur on the surface of your teeth. They include dark-colored drinks like coffee, tea, cola, cigarettes, other tobacco products, and poor dental hygiene. Intrinsic stains are less common and occur when the inner structure of your tooth changes color. Trauma to the tooth, excessive fluoride exposure and certain medical conditions are fundamental causes of intrinsic stains.
Causes of Teeth Staining and How to Prevent It
1) Excessive Fluoride Exposure
Fluoride is a mineral that’s found in many foods and water. It’s also added to some dental products like toothpaste and mouthwashes. While fluoride can help prevent cavities, too much can cause teeth staining. This type of staining usually occurs in children exposed to too much fluoride while their teeth are developing.
To prevent this type of staining, be sure to use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for young children and supervise them while they brush their teeth. If your water supply has high fluoride levels, talk to your dentist about using bottled water or a filtration system.
2) Tobacco Use
Tobacco contains nicotine, which can cause teeth staining. Smoking or using other tobacco products stains teeth yellow or brown. It can also cause bad breath and increases your risk of gum disease. If you currently use tobacco products, quitting is the best way to prevent tooth staining and other health problems.
Many resources help you quit, including nicotine replacement products, counseling, and support groups. If you can’t quit altogether, try to cut back on how often you use tobacco products. And be sure to brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings.
3) Poor Dental Hygiene
Brushing and flossing your teeth every day is essential for good dental hygiene and teeth whitening. Plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth if you don’t brush and floss regularly. This can lead to stained teeth, gum disease, and tooth staining.
To prevent staining, brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. You should also see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings.
4) Food and Drinks
Teeth staining foods and drinks include berries, soy sauce, curry, coffee, tea, cola, and red wine. They contain pigments like chromogens and tannins, which attach to tooth enamel and cause staining.
The best way to prevent staining from food and drinks is to limit your consumption of dark-colored beverages and foods. If you eat or drink them, brush your teeth, or rinse your mouth with water afterward. You can also use a straw when drinking dark-colored beverages to help prevent staining.
5) Certain Medical Conditions
The use of antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline can cause teeth staining in children whose teeth are still developing. These medications can also cause staining in adults. Other medical conditions that can cause teeth staining include gastric reflux disease and vitamin B12 deficiency.
If you’re taking medication that’s causing teeth staining, talk to your dentist or doctor about other options. If you have gastric reflux disease or vitamin B12 deficiency, treatment can help improve your condition and reduce staining.
Trauma to the tooth can cause it to change color. This can happen if you fall and hit your tooth or have an accident that causes the tooth to crack or break.
If you experience trauma to your tooth, see your dentist right away. They’ll be able to determine if the tooth is damaged and needs to be repaired or replaced.
While teeth staining is common, there are ways to prevent it. With proper care, you can help keep your teeth healthy and white. Be sure to brush and floss your teeth regularly and see your dentist for professional cleanings. If you use tobacco products, quitting is the best way to prevent staining. All these teeth whitening measures will help keep your smile looking its best.