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Taking care of your teeth requires you to make conscious lifestyle decisions. Although brushing your teeth twice a day is an excellent way to keep your oral hygiene in proper shape, other factors affect your teeth’ health. The food you eat and the beverages you drink can also impact the appearance of your teeth, causing it to discolor even if you’ve been vigorously brushing them every night.
Protecting your teeth from discoloration means knowing its causes, symptoms, and treatment. Frequently visiting your local dental practice in Charlotte, NC, will also keep you informed of any habits you might be doing that contribute to any stains on your teeth. If you’d like to steer clear of the main culprits of teeth discoloration, here’s what you need to know:
The Categories of Teeth Discoloration
There are three categories of teeth discoloration. The first is called extrinsic discoloration, which happens when the enamel, or the tooth’s outer layer, is stained by different kinds of food. The usual suspects are drinks like wine, coffee, cola, which are notorious for darkening even the healthiest of teeth. If you’re an avid smoker, that also contributes to any teeth discoloration.
The second category is intrinsic discoloration, which occurs when the tooth’s inner structure, or the dentin, takes on a darker or yellow tint. Primary causes include excessive fluoride exposure when you were much younger or if your mother used tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of her pregnancy with you. It can also occur from using these antibiotics at age eight or younger.
The third category is age-related discoloration, which combines extrinsic and intrinsic factors. In tandem with food or smoking-related stains, the dentin naturally yellows as you age. Since your enamel thins out as you get older, it exposes the yellowed dentin, giving your teeth a darker appearance. Any injuries to your tooth, like chips, can also result in discoloration.
Preventing Teeth Discoloration
An easy way to prevent stains from settling on your teeth is to brush your teeth after every meal. Dental professionals highly suggest that you wash your mouth after consuming wine, coffee, or other products that are known to stain your teeth. Maintaining your twice-yearly dental cleanings will also keep surface stains at bay.
Root canal treatment can even prevent intrinsic stains that occur due to damage to a nerve or blood vessel in your tooth’s pulp. However, your teeth may darken even after undergoing such treatment. If you’d like to prevent intrinsic stains in your children’s teeth, stay away from water sources with a high fluoride concentration.
Treating Teeth Discoloration
In most cases, you can reverse discoloration by having a dentist apply a bleaching agent to your teeth’s enamel. The dentist will use a light-activated bleaching gel that will significantly whiten your teeth in about 30 to 45 minutes through power bleaching. To maintain the pristine quality of your teeth, you may need several treatments.
You can also use an at-home bleaching gel and a mouth guard to whiten your teeth yourself. However, these don’t have the same strength as the one found at your dentist’s, so the process will take two to four weeks.
Teeth stains are mainly a cosmetic problem that doesn’t impact your overall oral hygiene. By avoiding teeth-staining foods and beverages while keeping a routine of brushing your teeth, your teeth should be in great shape. However, discolored teeth can significantly affect your confidence, especially when you smile. Luckily, a visit to your dentist will restore your smile to its bright, shining glory.
Langley Dental Care is proud to be Charlotte’s top preventative and cosmetic dental practice. With our full suite of services, from dental crowns to Invisalign, our team of dental experts can give your teeth the care and treatment it deserves. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment!