Discolouration of the teeth is a common problem among adults, with approximately 50% of people aged 18 and over experiencing some form of discolouration in their teeth.
This article aims to explain the causes of teeth discolouration and why, despite brushing, teeth may remain yellow.
It will discuss age-related discolouration, the effects of medications and dental products, tobacco use, poor hygiene, food and drink, and medical conditions.
Age-related discolouration of teeth is a common phenomenon among adults. People can experience yellow teeth due to intrinsic staining caused by a decrease in tooth enamel as they age, as well as genetic factors and the use of prescription medications. The outer layer of the tooth, the enamel, is a protective layer that can become thinner over time due to wear and tear. This can cause the deeper layer of the tooth, the dentin, to become exposed and take on a yellowish colour. Additionally, the acidic level of the mouth rises as people age, which can result in additional staining of the dentin. The result is a yellow appearance or a yellow discolouration of the teeth.
Fortunately, it is possible to achieve a whiter smile and restore a radiant or captivating smile. For example, visiting a dental chair and undergoing complete smile restoration can help people achieve white enamel and a whiter smile. In addition, people can take measures to prevent age-related discolouration, such as limiting their consumption of acidic foods, avoiding smoking, and drinking plenty of water. Moreover, people should also be aware that certain blood pressure drugs and medications used to treat dry mouth syndrome can cause tooth discolouration.
Medications and Dental Products
Medications and dental products can significantly contribute to the discolouration of teeth. Tooth discolouration is said to be a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains are surface stains that can be caused by products such as soft drinks, tobacco products, and citrus fruits. Intrinsic stains are stains that occur beneath the enamel and can be caused by medications or products, such as tooth decay. However, in many cases, both intrinsic and extrinsic stains are present.
The use of certain medications can cause teeth to become stained or discoloured. Common medications that can cause discolouration include antibiotics, antihistamines, and anti-depressants. In addition, some types of mouthwash and toothpaste can also cause teeth to become stained.
Good oral hygiene habits can help to prevent tooth discolouration. Brushing and flossing regularly will help to remove surface stains and prevent the build-up of plaque. Additionally, limiting the consumption of foods and beverages that are known to cause discolouration can help to keep teeth looking white and healthy.
While a variety of factors can cause tooth discolouration, it is important to remember that medications and dental products can be important factors in maintaining healthy and white teeth.
Tobacco use is a major contributor to tooth discolouration. Tobacco smoke, whether inhaled or chewed, can lead to extrinsic staining, causing yellow stains on the teeth. This is because tobacco contains nicotine and tar, both of which can leave stubborn stains on the tooth enamel.
Additionally, acidic foods and drinks can cause tooth colour to become dull and yellow.
To prevent and reduce dental discolouration from tobacco use, it is important for individuals to practice good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing twice a day. Furthermore, the use of whitening gels and professional whitening treatments may help restore teeth to a brighter smile.
To keep teeth looking healthy and white, individuals can:
- Brush and floss twice a day
- Use an electric toothbrush and whitening toothpaste
- Use a tongue scraper
- Reduce the consumption of acidic foods and drinks
- Consider professional whitening treatments
- Talk to a dentist about the best products for whitening teeth and maintaining a brighter smile
Poor oral hygiene practices can also lead to discolouration of the teeth. Allowing plaque and tartar to build up on the surface of the teeth will lead to yellowing and discolouration. Poor brushing and flossing habits can also cause discolouration. Not brushing and flossing regularly prevents you from maintaining your pearly whites and can leave them discoloured. If you have a dry mouth, bacteria can build up in your mouth and lead to staining of your teeth. External stains from drinks and foods can also leave your teeth looking less than white.
For those who desire whiter teeth, there are several options available. Professional teeth whitening is one choice. This involves the use of highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel, which is applied to the teeth. This is done under the supervision of a dental professional and can be very effective at whitening teeth. Additionally, there are over-the-counter options such as whitening strips, toothpaste, and gels that can help remove external stains and make your teeth look whiter.
Internal staining is another issue that may need to be addressed by a professional. Internal staining occurs when the dentin inside the tooth becomes stained due to the consumption of certain foods and drinks. A professional may be able to help remove these stains and give you a beautiful smile.
It is important to follow good oral hygiene habits in order to prevent discolouration of your teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day, avoiding the consumption of stain-causing foods and drinks, and visiting a dental professional for regular cleanings are the best way to keep your teeth looking white and healthy.
Food and Drink
Consumption of certain foods and drinks can lead to internal staining of the teeth. This type of staining is separate from normal surface staining caused by poor oral hygiene routines and can be more difficult to remove. The tooth structure itself can also be a factor in staining. Acids from foods can erode the enamel and cause staining. Additionally, whitening options, such as counter-whitening products and treatments, may be available to help reduce staining. However, these should be used with caution, as they can cause further damage to the tooth structure.
To combat this, it is important to be aware of the type of food and drink that can cause internal staining and to be conscious of one’s oral hygiene routine. Regular brushing, usually at least twice a day, is the most basic way to prevent surface staining and plaque buildup. Counter products are available to help maintain dental hygiene, such as toothpaste with special whitening agents.
Certain medical conditions can cause discolouration or staining of the teeth. For example, certain medications can cause excessive saliva production, leading to plaque buildup and tartar formation. This, in turn, can lead to discolouration of the teeth.
Additionally, some medical conditions, such as acid reflux or bulimia, can lead to erosion of the enamel, leaving yellow teeth.
Custom-made whitening trays, hydrogen peroxide, and carbamide peroxide are all options to help whiten discoloured teeth. For those who don’t want to use strong whitening agents, regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse can help reduce yellowing.
Regular dental cleanings are also effective for removing plaque buildup and tartar. For those who prefer a natural approach, balsamic vinegar can help remove plaque buildup and whiten teeth.
However, it is important to remember that when it comes to yellowing teeth, prevention is the key. Regular brushing and flossing, coupled with regular dental checkups, can help keep teeth healthy and white.
The inevitable discolouration of teeth is a fact of life. Despite brushing, flossing, and a healthy lifestyle, teeth may still be yellow with age, medications, tobacco use, poor hygiene, food and drink, and medical conditions.
To illustrate, one might imagine a person with a bright white smile surrounded by a group of colourful characters representing each of the previously mentioned factors, all attempting to dull the teeth with their ‘yellowing’ effects.
In the end, it is clear that beyond brushing, there are many other factors contributing to the discolouration of teeth.
At All About Dental in Engadine, NSW, we understand how discolouration of teeth can happen due to age, medications, tobacco use, poor hygiene, food and drink, and medical conditions. That is why we provide expert dental services to help restore your smile to its original radiance. Our experienced team of dentists in Engadine are here to help and provide you with the best possible dental care. So make an appointment today to get your smile back!