Your permanent teeth were created to last your lifetime. While they may have started out as pearly whites, the years can take their toll on your teeth in the form of stains and discoloration.
Dental stains and discolored teeth may not be a health hazard, but they can have a negative effect on your self-esteem, making you feel self-conscious about your smile. And feeling good about your smile is important — so much so that nearly all American adults consider a good smile a key social asset.
At Greenwich Dentistry in Cos Cob, Connecticut, our experienced dentists can restore your smile, giving you brighter, whiter teeth after just one visit with our in-office professional tooth whitening treatments.
Our dentists also know prevention is usually the best medicine. That’s why we put our heads together to provide you with a list of some of the most common reasons teeth get stained.
Common causes of teeth stains
Your teeth can develop stains on the surface of a tooth (extrinsic stains) or because there’s been a change in a deeper layer (intrinsic stains), which affects the tooth’s color. For some people, both types of stains may affect the appearance of their teeth.
In addition, as you get older your teeth naturally become more yellow as the hard enamel that covers the outside of your teeth gets thinner. This means it’s easier for particles to penetrate the surface of your teeth and create a stain and it’s more likely that the darker-colored dentin inside your teeth shows through.
There are many ways you can stain your teeth. Here’s a look at some of the most common things that cause tooth discoloration, dullness, and stains.
1. Eating and drinking things that affect your enamel
Your favorite foods and beverages may taste delicious, but they could also make it easier for stains to develop on your enamel. Some of the most common stain-causing foods and beverages are:
- Coffee and black tea
- Red wines and berries
- Tomato-based foods and beverages
- Foods and beverages with food coloring
- Carbonated beverages (soda, sparkling water)
If you’re concerned about dental stains, avoid consuming these products or be sure to brush or at least rinse your mouth as soon as possible after eating or drinking them.
2. Smoking or using other tobacco products
Tobacco products contain nicotine, which can make the enamel of your teeth yellow. Over time, this yellow color can darken and sometimes even take on a brown appearance. Whether you smoke cigarettes or cigars or chew tobacco, now is the time to quit — for both your health and the appearance of your teeth.
3. Having an underlying health condition
Sometimes an underlying health condition can affect the enamel on your teeth, making it change color or become more susceptible to dental stains. Some of these medical conditions include:
- Liver disease
- Eating disorders
- Metabolic diseases
Also, while cancer doesn’t cause yellow teeth, the radiation and chemotherapy used to treat it can. If you have one of these conditions or another that’s linked to dental stains, talk to your Greenwich Dentistry provider about a solution.
4. Taking certain medications
Some medications can affect the appearance of your teeth, increasing your risk of dental stains, dull-looking teeth, and discoloration. Some of the most common ones include:
- Blood pressure medications
Don’t stop taking medications you need because of dental stains. Talk to your provider about switching medications, or ask one of the dentists at Greenwich Dentistry about ways to stimulate saliva flow to help keep your teeth brighter.
5. Not taking preventive dental hygiene measures
Good oral hygiene — like regularly brushing and flossing and having routine professional teeth cleanings — goes a long way toward keeping your teeth as white as possible. If you’re not brushing and flossing enough and visiting your dentist at least twice a year, your chances of having dental stains increases.
Professional treatment for dental stains
At Greenwich Dentistry, our team uses the Philips Zoom!® professional in-office whitening system to give our patients the brightest smiles possible. Once your dentist determines that you’re a good candidate, we discuss the level of whitening you desire and review the process with you.
It’s a two-part system: The whitening solution uses safe and effective agents that break down the pigments that stain your teeth, while the light enhances the whitening so that you leave treatment with a smile that’s up to eight shades whiter. The process takes less than two hours in the office.
Are you ready to say goodbye to dental stains or discolored teeth? Schedule an appointment with a provider at Greenwich Dentistry today to get started.