People get their teeth whitened because of tooth discoloration, and for wanting a brighter and whiter smile. Tooth discoloration is common and easily treatable so no need to worry.

There are two types of tooth discoloration: extrinsic, and intrinsic.

Extrinsic discoloration

This type of discoloration occurs when the outer layer of the tooth is stained. The stains can look like yellowed or darkened spots on the enamel of the tooth. Extrinsic stains are fairly easy to remove.

Intrinsic discoloration

This type of discoloration comes from within the tooth when the inner structure of the tooth (dentin) darkens or gets a yellow tint. It is usually caused by issues during tooth development, such as too much fluoride exposure in childhood. Intrinsic stains are difficult to remove.

Causes of Tooth discoloration

To minimize tooth discoloration, you should know the main causes of tooth discoloration. Some of the causes are lifestyle-related.

  1. Food and Beverages

This is common and one of the leading causes of stained teeth.

Sugary foods: The high sugar content found in soft drinks, chocolates, and sweets can lead to tooth decay, and darkened spots and holes.

Coffee, tea, and wine: These three beverages contain acidic polyphenols called tannins which can lead to teeth staining. Green tea can cause grey staining whereas black tea can cause yellow staining.

Berries and Acidic foods: Blueberries and blackberries can stain your teeth. Acidic and citrus foods such as pineapples or tomatoes are also not good for your teeth.

  1. Age-related

Age-related tooth discoloration is due to a mixture of both extrinsic and intrinsic factors. As you get older, tooth enamel wears thinner – causing the dentin to show through. During the ageing process, the dentin also yellows or darkens.

  1. Poor Oral Hygiene

Lack of proper oral care such as not brushing and flossing regularly can lead to a build-up of plaque and tartar – which can then result in tooth discoloration, and other oral problems. Plaque is not normally visible on the surface of the teeth, so you may not be aware that it exists.

  1. Tobacco

If you’re a heavy smoker, there’s every chance of stained teeth. The nicotine and tar in tobacco smoke can cause stained or yellow teeth.

  1. Environmental Factors

Fluoride helps prevent dental cavities, however, excessive intake of fluoride can cause teeth to discolor.

  1. Certain Medications

One cause of intrinsic discoloration is taking certain medications. Tooth discoloration can occur from certain medications such as blood pressure medicines, antibiotics, antihistamines, and certain antipsychotics.

  1. Genetics

One of the factors that play a big part in how well your teeth hold up against tooth discoloration is genetics. Yes, some people are genetically blessed with brighter and thicker enamel to protect against teeth stains.

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