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Causes Of Tooth Discolouration & Stains

man with white hair smilingDiscolouration of teeth means they are not as white as they should be. There are multiple causes of tooth discolouration. However, the most common is poor dental hygiene. In this article, we deep dive into the poor dental health and other causes of tooth discolouration.

The Six Main Causes Of Tooth Discolouration

1. Poor dental hygiene
2. Ageing
3. Diet and lifestyle choices
4. Health issues and treatments
5. Genetics
6. Dental injury

1. Poor Dental Hygiene

Your overall health depends significantly on your oral and dental health. It is an integral part of your well-being. To achieve good oral hygiene, you must brush your teeth properly, clean your tongue, and floss regularly. Apart from that, plaque build-up and not brushing regularly causes yellowing of teeth hence the significance of a strict dental regimen that involves cleaning your teeth adequately.

2. Aging

As you grow older, you may start to notice changes in your bodily functions and the appearance of some parts, your teeth are not immune to these age-related changes either. So, tooth discolouration is natural when you age. The enamel (thin layer of outer tissue) on your teeth erodes, revealing the dentin underneath it with age. Dentin ranges from pale yellow to grey or black; pale-yellow dentin is a sign of healthy teeth. Therefore, as the enamel wears off, your teeth may start to look yellower or grey.

3. Diet and Lifestyle Choices

There are lots of foods and drinks that can cause tooth discolouration when you over-consume them. These foods and drinks usually have deep pigments or vibrant hues and may contain dyeing properties. Examples of such foods include coffee, tea, soda, red wine, berries, curry, foods rich in soy, and sauce-based or starchy foods. Many of these foods contain essential vitamins and minerals, so you don’t have to eliminate them from your diet. You should consume these foods moderately and ensure you brush plus floss your teeth adequately and have regular dentist visits.

Smoking and tobacco use can have a lasting colouration impact on your teeth, usually appearing after a few years. Tar and nicotine – ingredients in cigarettes and tobacco – porously enter the teeth when you’re smoking, which leaves them discoloured. The nicotine can cause a yellow tint, and tar can cause a brown tint; both are instances of extrinsic discolouration.

Practicing moderation with these lifestyle choices may benefit your dental health in the long run.

4. Health Problems and Medication

Some health conditions can affect the density of your teeth and damage the enamel, which may result in discolouration. These medical conditions include calcium deficiency, celiac, liver, metabolic diseases, and eating disorders. There are medical treatments like chemotherapy and radiation that can cause a change in the colour of your teeth.

Various medications can have a lasting impact on the health of your teeth, even with good oral hygiene. Antihistamines, antipsychotics, and antihypertensive medicines may cause tooth discolouration. Antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline may result in discolouration when given to children under eight because it affects developing teeth. Medications for high blood pressure and bacterial infections, like common antibiotics, may also result in teeth changing hue.

5. Genetics

You can inherit gene traits that make you susceptible to tooth discolouration and easy decay. They include amelogenesis and dentinogenesis imperfecta. These two disorders cause your teeth to appear translucent, blue-grey, or yellow-brown. If you have this disorder, your teeth can be brittle or weak, making them prone to wear and breakage. Other side effects of the gene mutation include uncharacteristically small, pitted, or grooved teeth.

6. Injury

One of the most common causes of discolouration is dental trauma; your teeth can change colour after an injury. After trauma, blood can leak into your teeth from the veins supplying your teeth with blood flow. Alternatively, blood flow to your teeth may stop after an injury. Both instances can cause tooth discolouration and possible nerve damage. With children, dental trauma may result in improper enamel formation, which causes hue changes and interrupts teeth growth.

Can Tooth Discolouration Be Reversed?

There are many reasons why your teeth may lose their healthy off-white colour or change pigments. A common factor is poor dental hygiene, but genetics, trauma, diet, lifestyle, aging, and health conditions may play a role. To prevent the unfortunate occurrence of tooth discolouration, establish a good tooth cleaning routine. Avoid foods and lifestyle choices that contribute to bad dental health, and try not to fall and hit your teeth.

Whether tooth discolouration is reversible or not is dependent on the cause of discolouration. Most of the extrinsic discoloration is reversible, especially by reversing the cause of staining. Read more here on treating staining and discolouration of teeth.

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