Tooth Discoloration: What’s Staining Your Smile?
You glance in the mirror and flash your smile. Your teeth appear to be in great shape, but lately you’ve noticed your once bright, white smile now has a darkened, yellow tint. It’s common for teeth to discolor over time, and some people experience staining more than others depending on eating habits and lifestyle.
Whether you’ve desired a whiter smile for years or you are just noticing subtle discoloration, there are simple ways to lessen stains and whiten your smile. Keep reading for tips to prevent stains, and visit your Hilton Head Island, SC Dentist for advanced at-home and in-office teeth whitening treatments.
Foods that Dull Your Smile
Extrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the outer layer of the tooth enamel is stained. These stains typically appear following regular consumption of specific foods and drinks. Coffee, wine, dark soda, soy sauce and blueberries are just a few of the foods and beverages that can discolor the outer layer of your teeth over time. Smokers also experience tooth discoloration, so if you smoke, consider quitting not only for health reasons, but to keep your teeth from turning yellow as well.
Since most extrinsic stains are caused by the foods you eat on a daily basis, you can easily prevent and avoid tooth discoloration by limiting or avoiding their consumption.
Certain antibiotics, dental trauma or overexposure to fluoride can also stain the teeth. These causes of discoloration affect the dentin, the inner structure of the tooth. In many cases, this type of staining is out of your control. It’s best to see your dentist for treatment recommendations if your teeth are discolored due to one of the aforementioned causes. Bleaching and other whitening agents are generally unsuccessful for intrinsic staining.
Prevention & Treatment
To prevent staining, especially extrinsic discoloration, avoid those foods and habits that lead to yellowing. You should also brush your teeth after every meal and visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings. Root canal treatment to eliminate the darkened, inner part of your tooth may also help minimize intrinsic stains caused by damaged nerves in the teeth.
Many minor extrinsic stains can be improved with whitening toothpastes. The most successful way to whiten your smile, however, is with professional teeth bleaching provided by your dentist. This procedure is safe, highly effective and can take as little as one appointment to achieve your desired results.