Top Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Even the most attractive smile can appear unhealthy when the teeth are yellowed or stained. Dental discoloration is more common than most individuals think, and it can occur for a number of reasons.

Here, Dr. Thomas Tang discusses the top causes of tooth discoloration and explores many of the cosmetic treatments we offer at our Brookfield, WI practice, including teeth whitening, bonding, and veneers.

#1: Smoking

It comes as no surprise to hear that smoking causes dental staining. In fact, all tobacco products can lead to darker teeth over time. While teeth whitening can help address stains caused by smoking, it will not prevent them from coming back. We urge patients to stop smoking to improve their overall and oral health. If you need help kicking the habit, reach out to one of our team members.

#2: Poor Oral Hygiene

When plaque, tartar, and debris are not removed from the surface of the teeth daily, staining is much more likely. To prevent discoloration and improve the health of your teeth and gums, be sure to brush at least two times every day and floss once daily. Once your smile is healthy, we can whiten it professionally.

#3: Certain Foods and Drinks

The modern diet is full of staining agents. Foods and beverages that are dark in color can cause the teeth to become discolored over time. This includes colas, tea, coffee, berries, pasta sauce, and similar foods and drinks. Fortunately, teeth whitening can address this type of staining. However, to reduce the risk of discoloration, we recommend consuming these things in moderation.

#4: Some Medications

The antibiotics doxycycline and tetracycline have been shown to cause discoloration when given to children younger than eight. There are also a number of other drugs on the market that can exacerbate dental discoloration. These may include hypertension medications, antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, and antihistamines.

Because these stains occur deep inside the tooth, whitening does not typically address them. (These are referred to as intrinsic stains.) However, Dr. Tang can recommend dental bonding or porcelain veneers to mask imperfections and enhance your smile.

#5: Certain Diseases or Disorders

Some illnesses can contribute to dental discoloration by affecting enamel development. This could potentially be caused by liver disease, eating disorders, celiac disease, metabolic diseases, or calcium deficiencies. Like stains caused by medications, this type of discoloration is intrinsic, meaning it can only be corrected by covering the teeth with bonding or veneers.

#6: Trauma

Any injury to the mouth can result in dental damage. If a tooth sustains trauma, it may bleed internally. The blood becomes trapped inside the tooth, and as a result, the tooth darkens. This is considered intrinsic discoloration and can only be addressed with dental bonding, veneers, or dental crowns.

#7: Family History

When it comes to tooth discoloration, one element that is often overlooked is genetics. Some individuals are born with thick, healthy enamel. Others may have very thin enamel, which can expose the dentin underneath. Consequently, this can make the teeth appear yellow. Again, this type of discoloration can only be corrected with bonding, veneers, or crowns.

Contact Your Dentist Today

If you are self-conscious about stained or yellowed teeth, consider what cosmetic dentistry treatment can do for you. During a consultation at our Brookfield practice, Dr. Tang can help determine which procedures can help you achieve the smile you desire. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, contact us online or call us at (262) 207-4867.

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