Stains and discolouration can be caused by a number of factors, including food, drinks and lifestyle habits.
If you have noticed stains and discolouration on the surface of your teeth, you are not alone. These issues affect many people and can occur for a range of reasons. Read on to find out what causes stains and discolouration and how these problems can be prevented and treated…
What is tooth discolouration?
There are three types of tooth discolouration: extrinsic, intrinsic and age-related. Extrinsic discolouration refers to stains that affect the enamel on the surface of the teeth. This type of discolouration is most commonly caused by food, drinks and smoking.
Intrinsic discolouration, on the other hand, refers to stains within the tooth. Intrinsic stains often take on a grey hue, and can be caused by factors like medications, injuries to the teeth, tooth decay and genetics.
Age-related discolouration occurs when the enamel wears away over time, revealing the yellow dentin underneath. Age-related stains can be caused by either extrinsic or intrinsic factors, or a combination of the two.
Which foods cause stains?
There are a number of foods and drinks that can cause stains on the surface of the teeth. These include highly pigmented fruits and berries, such as pomegranates, cranberries, blueberries and blackberries; coffee; tea; red wine; and dark sauces like tomato sauce, soy and some curries.
Besides certain foods and drinks, there are some other factors that can cause stains and discolouration. These include the natural ageing process, which often causes the teeth to become more brittle over time and increasingly susceptible to discolouration. Tooth injuries can cause darkening, while certain medications can also cause permanent stains to form on the teeth.
Smoking is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to staining — tobacco causes yellowing, as well as brown spots to form. Other factors that can lead to stains include untreated tooth decay, poor oral hygiene and chronic dry mouth.
How can it be treated?
Although stains and discolouration are common issues, there are ways in which they can be resolved. Whitening treatments are an effective option for many people and can help to get rid of stains and lighten the overall shade of the teeth. It is important to note, however, that not everyone is suited to a bleaching treatment — while individuals with naturally yellow teeth are likely to benefit from bleaching, those with brownish or grey-coloured teeth are generally not well-suited to the treatment. If you’re not sure whether or not teeth whitening is for you, we recommend that you come in for a consultation. Your dentist will be able to advise you on the best course of action based on your needs, concerns and aesthetic goals.
Teeth whitening toothpastes are also an option when it comes to removing stains from the teeth. These toothpastes are specially formulated to remove stains and polish the teeth. Although they can be helpful for reducing surface stains, they are not effective on intrinsic discolouration.
How can we help?
At Somerset Dental Care, we offer a range of cosmetic treatments, including teeth whitening. Teeth whitening is an increasingly popular treatment and produces highly effective results. We offer both at-home and dental bleaching. The treatment that suits you best will depend on a number of factors, including what kind of discolouration you are experiencing, and what kind of results you are looking for. If you would like to find out what each procedure involves, please have a look here.
If you would like to make an appointment to see us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.