Our teeth can develop discoloration over time. Patients often come to our office looking for potential solutions to discoloration. Fortunately, we can recommend a number of cosmetic solutions to address teeth stains and improve the brightness of a smile. But by understanding the common causes of teeth stains you can help keep your smile brighter for longer periods.
Common Causes of Teeth Stains
- Drinks with Dark Pigments: Drinks containing dark pigments can stain teeth, leading to unsightly discoloration. You should consider cutting back on coffee, soda, tea, red wine, and fruit juice. Instead, you can drink water, which contains no staining agents.
- Foods High in Sugar and Starch: Foods with a lot of sugar and starch leave behind articles for bacteria to break down, a process that coats the teeth in plaque buildup. Plaque makes the appearance of discoloration more apparent. We also suggest avoiding sodas and energy drinks for the same reasons: the sugary content. In addition to discoloration, plaque buildup also weakens tooth enamel and irritates gum tissue, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum issues, such as gingivitis or periodontal disease.
- Smoking: When you smoke, you leave embarrassing yellow and brown stains on the teeth. In addition, tobacco use also increases the risk of oral, lung, and throat cancer. For these reasons, we always urge patients who smoke or use tobacco products to quite immediately.
- Injury: When you injure a tooth, blood can fill the tubules in the layers of dentin, causing stains to form below the surface. These are known as intrinsic stains and are difficult to remove. However, we can often mask them with veneers or dental bonding. Intrinsic discoloration can also be caused by fluorosis or exposure to tetracycline at a young age as the teeth are still developing.