Stained Teeth: What Causes Discolouration and How Is It Treated?

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Article by Dr Raha Sepehrara
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The colour of your teeth can make a big difference to your confidence. Stained or discoloured teeth may leave you self-conscious and cause you to worry that people may judge you for poor dental hygiene.

But the truth is that staining and discolouration are not always a product of a lack of attention. You could brush your teeth diligently and still have a smile you’d rather keep hidden. 

So, what causes your smile to become discoloured and stained? And what can you do to treat or prevent it?

Here’s everything you need to know about keeping your smile bright, white, and healthy. 

There Are Different Types of Stains

There are two types of stains: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains affect the outer surfaces of your teeth and are usually caused by lifestyle factors like smoking and diet. The surface of your teeth is covered with microscopic pores. It’s these pores that trap in the stains that harm your smile. 

Intrinsic staining is beneath the surface of your teeth. This type of discolouration is often associated with health issues. 

Some Foods and Beverages Will Stain Your Smile

Unfortunately, many of the most enjoyable foods and drinks will likely leave their mark. Coffee and tea are among the worst offenders, while red wine, berries, spices, cola, and dark chocolate will also cause stains. 

Discolouration Could Be a Symptom Of Illness, Trauma, or a Medication Side Effect

Certain illnesses, such as liver disease, celiac disease, metabolic disease, calcium deficiencies, and eating disorders, will affect the appearance of your smile. Your teeth may also become discoloured if you take certain medications for treating blood pressure or used to take specific antibiotics frequently as a child.

If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, this, too, can discolour your smile. 

Other potential causes include previous dental infections, injuries to your mouth, your age, and genetics. 

We Have Several Ways To Brighten Your Smile

If you do have stained or discoloured teeth, we can treat them. To do so, we need to understand the potential causes and determine the best route. 

Hygiene Appointments

A routine visit to our hygienist can help you get a brighter and healthier smile. We use minimally invasive treatments to remove tartar. 

Tartar is the brown substance that binds to your teeth. It’s essentially plaque that’s hardened in place. Brushing alone cannot remove tartar, so we use tools that break it down before polishing your teeth. 

Teeth Whitening

We can often remove stains and discolouration using a professional teeth whitening procedure. Teeth whitening uses hydrogen peroxide-based solutions to lift stains from the surfaces of your teeth. 

Our whitening treatments are safe and highly effective.

Veneers and Composite Bonding

Dental veneers are fine porcelain shells specifically to match the natural colour of your teeth. They are bonded to the fronts and sides of your teeth to give your smile a completely new look. This popular and straightforward procedure also covers other defects like chips and cracks. 

Composite bonding uses tooth-coloured resin applied directly to the area of your teeth we’re improving. Once in position, we shape the resin until it naturally blends in, leaving you with a tooth that looks brand new. The resin is then hardened to your tooth using a special light. 

Preventing Stains and Discolouration

Although certain types of discolouration are unavoidable, there are ways to reduce the chances of developing stains. 

  • Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily
  • Use mouthwash
  • Limit foods and drinks which you know could cause stain
  • Drink more water
  • Visit the hygienist often
  • Attend dental checkups every six months

Combatting Stains and Discolouration in Nottingham

We want to ensure you have healthy teeth, but we know how they look is also important. Whether your teeth are currently stained and discoloured or you want to take a more proactive approach to maintaining their appearance, we can help. 

Contact us today to book your next checkup or hygiene appointment.

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