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Posted on: June 14, 2021
Reasons and Remedies for Tooth Discoloration
If you smile less because your teeth are stained and discolored, then you may be able to reverse the dark and dingy appearance and have a whiter, brighter smile.
What Causes Teeth to Become Stained and Discolored?
There are many causes of discolored and stained teeth, not all of which are within your control. Reasons for tooth discoloration include the aging process, medications – both prescription and non-prescription – trauma to a permanent tooth, genetics, and lifestyle choices.
Do My Diet and Lifestyle Cause My Tooth Discoloration?
Those who consume coffee, tea, wine, colas, and other dark-colored foods and beverages may have darker-colored teeth than those who don’t. Tobacco use, no matter the type, also contributes to staining and discoloration. Some types of foods that can contribute to discolored teeth include:
- Sugary drinks, including fruit juices and sports drinks because they’re rife with acids and simple sugars that attack your tooth enamel.
- Carbohydrate-laden food and snacks that readily convert into sugars when they enter your system and contribute to the erosion of your tooth enamel.
- Sweet snacks such as gum and candy that are mostly sugar that attacks your white tooth enamel and leaves your teeth dingy and dark-colored.
Is It Possible to Prevent Tooth Discoloration?
Just as eating and drinking some types of substances can cause darker teeth, eating and drinking other types can help maintain whiter teeth. In addition to eating a well-balanced diet, the following items should be part of your regular diet if you want the whitest and healthiest smile possible:
- Plain water: Although not very exciting, plain water is one of the best substances for both your oral and your physical health. It helps flush out residual food particles as well as the acids and sugars that remain in your mouth each time you eat or drink. These substances can contribute to dental caries and dental discoloration, so be sure to drink an ample amount of plain water each day.
- Sugar-free liquids: If plain water is a no-go for you, then sugar-free beverages are better than no liquid at all. However, they can still contain acids and sugars that can erode your tooth enamel, so if you drink sugar-free beverages, then be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain water after you’re finished.
- Sparkling water: Mineral water, either sparkling or non-sparkling, can be more palatable than plain water, although it should be consumed in moderation. If you opt for flavored sparkling water, be sure to rinse your mouth afterward so that you remove any residue from flavorings or sweeteners.
- Cocoa: Although not usually considered a beverage or food for dental health, research has shown that cocoa is high in anti-inflammatory substances, so it can help to reduce inflammation throughout your body. This means dark cocoa, not milk chocolate, white chocolate, or Hershey’s syrup.
- Fish and flax seeds: Both of these foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids and have been shown to reduce inflammation. This can help protect you from periodontal disease, which is caused by inflammation, but you need to balance it with the appropriate amount of omega-6 fatty acids for optimal results.
- Dairy products: Although the trend is away from dairy products, they are actually good for you unless you have physical contraindications. Dairy products such as milk and cheese are high in protein and calcium, which provide stronger teeth and enamel. They also neutralize acids and increase the flow of saliva, which helps flush bacteria from your mouth.
Will Smoking Cause Stained and Discolored Teeth?
No matter the type of tobacco you use or in which form, using tobacco will cause your teeth to be less white than if you abstain. Tobacco is also a leading cause of periodontal disease.
Is There a Form of Tobacco That Won’t Discolor My Teeth?
There is no type of tobacco that won’t discolor your teeth. Depending on your other lifestyle habits, you can mitigate some of the effects, but if you want the whitest teeth possible, then you’ll need to quit smoking.
What If I Want Whiter Teeth But Still Want to Smoke?
In spite of all the adverse effects of smoking, both physically and orally, many people still choose to use tobacco in one form or another. If you are in this category, then the following may help you lessen some of the damage to your teeth:
- Always brush your teeth after you smoke.
- Have your teeth professionally cleaned at least twice each year.
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet so that your teeth are as strong as possible.
- Brush and floss at least twice each day and use an antibacterial mouthwash every day. This will help prevent stains and the buildup of discoloration on your tooth enamel.
- Always brush your teeth after you eat a meal or a snack.
What Can I Do to Prevent Dental Discoloration?
For the whitest teeth possible, don’t use tobacco products. However, there are a few ways to keep your teeth white whether you smoke or you don’t, such as:
- Brush your teeth after eating, whether it’s a snack or a full meal.
- Thoroughly rinse your mouth after you drink any dark-colored beverage.
- Get dental treatments when you need them because this can help prevent your teeth from becoming discolored.
- Get a professional teeth cleaning at least annually, twice-yearly if you use tobacco or need an additional cleaning.
- Follow the American Dental Association guidelines for oral hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing twice each day, especially just before bedtime, and using an antibacterial mouthwash at least once each day.
Can Lifestyle Changes Prevent Some of My Tooth Discoloration?
It takes some dedication, but you can have the whitest teeth possible with a few tooth-whitening options, such as:
- Use an at-home whitening kit. Although they take longer and are less effective than those in your dental office, they can be done at your convenience. Be aware, that if you have dental work such as fillings or caps, they may not whiten to the same shade as your natural teeth.
- Get a professional whitening treatment at your dentist’s office. Many dentists offer at-home whitening kits that use the same products they use in the office. For even whitening, however, a professional treatment is the fastest option that yields the best overall whitening results.
- Use tooth-whitening toothpaste to remove the majority of daily stains and discoloration.
- Consider veneers or dental crowns if your teeth don’t respond to whitening or you have extensive dental work.
Don’t suffer any longer with a dull, discolored smile that you’re trying to hide. Ask your dentist about the best method for whitening and brightening your smile, and start smiling today!