If you’ve ever wondered why your teeth aren’t as bright as they once were, you’re not alone. In fact, visiting the oral hygiene aisle in just about any drugstore shows that wanting whiter teeth is very common! A dizzying array of over-the-counter products are available, not to mention the treatments only available in dentists’ offices.
Your smile is an important part of how people perceive you. At Le Dentistry in Norcross, Georgia, our providers do all they can to help you keep a healthy, beautiful smile. We often get questions about teeth whitening, and we’re happy to help patients get the smile they want. Here, we look at some of the reasons teeth lose their whiteness.
The different types of discoloration
Teeth can be discolored in different ways. They may look yellow, gray, or have white or dark spots. There are essentially three categories of discoloration:
- Extrinsic: coming from outside, usually due to something staining your teeth
- Intrinsic: caused by something inside your body
- Age-related: caused by time taking a toll on the color of your teeth
Regardless of the type of discoloration you’re experiencing, we can help.
Extrinsic staining is extremely common and can be caused by some of your favorite things. Coffee, red wine, blueberries, and even marinara sauce are just a few of the culprits. If a food or beverage can stain your clothing, it can also stain your teeth.
Acidic foods and drinks, like tea, can also lead to staining because they can erode your enamel and allow pigments to attach to your teeth. Poor dental hygiene can also lead to extrinsic discoloration as plaque builds up on your teeth.
One of the worst things you can do for your smile is to use tobacco. Smoking or chewing tobacco both cause stains. We recommend you quit smoking, then celebrate by getting the stains cleaned off your teeth!
Some of the causes of discoloration come from within. For example, you may be genetically predisposed to yellowing teeth. Your DNA determines both the shade of the color of your teeth and the thickness of your enamel.
Excessive fluoride can also discolor your teeth. If your water has too much fluoride in it, or you over-use products that contain fluoride, like rinses, toothpaste, or oral supplements, it could cause your teeth to become discolored.
Certain medications can cause discoloration. Antihistamines, some blood pressure medications, and even some antibiotics are among the medications known to cause discoloration of your teeth.
Some diseases can also affect your enamel. If you have experienced chemotherapy or radiation to your head or neck, you may notice some discoloration in your teeth.
As you get older, the layer of enamel on your teeth begins to wear thin. Underneath your enamel is a substance called dentin, which is yellowish or grayish. When the dentin is visible through your enamel, your teeth don’t look as bright white as they did when the enamel was nice and thick.
Other potential reasons for discoloration
In addition to extrinsic, intrinsic, and age-related discoloration, a few other things can make your teeth less-than-white. For example, if you experience some kind of trauma to your mouth, like a fall, a car accident, or getting hit in the face with a ball, your teeth may become discolored.
Some materials that dentists use contain a substance called silver sulfide which can make your teeth look gray.
How we can help
Le Dentistry offers options when it comes to teeth whitening. You can opt for an in-office treatment where we use a stronger bleaching agent that lightens your teeth many shades with just one treatment.
You may choose to use custom trays designed to be used at home. We provide you with a bleaching solution and thorough instructions. It takes longer than in-office whitening because the solution is not as strong, but you can still lighten your teeth noticeably over a few days or weeks.
Schedule your appointment today to learn more about your teeth whitening options.