Causes of teeth discoloration

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That perfect smile does wonders at boosting your confidence. There are some factors that affect the ‘perfectness’ of the smile and having discolored teeth is one culprit. Teeth normally get discolored due to a number of factors.

The tooth is made up of 4 tissues.

Enamel, which is the strong, white covering that protects the tooth.
Dentin, a hard yellow material that carries nerves and supports the enamel.
Pulp, which is at the center of the tooth and contains blood and lymph vessels.
Cementum, which covers the root of the tooth.
The enamel and dentin play the biggest role in teeth coloration.

Poor dental hygiene is also a cause of tooth discoloration. Inadequate brushing and flossing to remove plaque and stain-producing substances like coffee and tobacco can discolor your teeth. Make sure you brush your teeth with a good toothbrush at least twice daily. Also brush within an hour of eating food that stains teeth. It also helps to rinse your mouth with water after a meal to remove the deposits before they settle.

Genetic makeup- some people have naturally brighter or thicker enamel than others. If you fall in the category of the genetically predisposed to weaker enamel or discolored teeth, then performing standard dental hygiene processes and some tooth whitening techniques will be good for you. You should also be realistic about your goal. Confidence comes from within.

Certain foods and drinks will directly stain the enamel. Black coffee and tea, cola drinks, red wine, and certain fruits and vegetables are good, we can’t do without some of them but they also discolor our teeth. We may avoid darker teas and use the milder ones to avoid this problem. Adding milk to your beverage- coffee or tea also helps in lightening it. As a bonus, you’ll get milk’s calcium and vitamin D, both of which keep teeth strong.

As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth gets worn away, revealing the natural yellow color of dentin. You should therefore adopt a diet that helps you strengthen your enamel as you get older.

Smoking or chewing tobacco is a big culprit in staining teeth. One of the effects of smoking is staining on the teeth due to the nicotine and tar in the tobacco. It can make your teeth yellow in a very short time, and heavy smokers often complain that their teeth are almost brown after years of smoking. Whiter teeth can be a good motivation for someone to quit smoking.

Several diseases can affect the enamel and dentin and can lead to tooth discoloration. Certain treatments for conditions such as cancer can also affect tooth color. For example, head and neck radiation and chemotherapy can cause teeth discoloration.

Antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline are known to discolor teeth when given to children whose teeth are still developing (before age 8). Certain Mouth rinses and washes, antihistamines used for allergies, antipsychotic drugs, and drugs for high blood pressure also cause teeth discoloration.

The environment you live in can have an effect on your teeth. Excessive fluoride either from environmental sources (naturally high fluoride levels in water) can discolor your teeth. Fluoride can also be used excessively through fluoride applications, rinses, toothpaste, and fluoride supplements taken orally, all these can cause teeth discoloration. The best thing to do is practice moderation even as you use these products.

These are few causes of teeth discoloration, some of which a little lifestyle change will help improve. There are others though which you may have to live with because ‘perfect’ is relative and should be defined by an individual rather than a society. It would also help to bear in mind that prevention is better than cure.


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