Tooth Discoloration

Two major factors lead to tooth discoloration: extrinsic and intrinsic. The first type relates to substances that we place in the mouth. For instance, coffee, tea, tobacco, wines, and some fruits and vegetables may leave stains on the teeth. Inadequate dental hygiene, such as poor brushing or flossing, may fail to remove the plaque on the teeth. Another extrinsic sub-factor relates to the use of medical treatments for some diseases. Antibiotics, such as doxycycline, discolor the teeth of children under the age of eight. Other medicines include antipsychotic drugs, antihistamines, and medications for the treatment of high blood pressure. Chemotherapy and related radiation may result in tooth discoloration. The enamel development of infants in the womb may be affected by some infections in pregnant women. Finally, food discoloration may result from excessive amounts of fluorides, found in the water supply, fluoride toothpastes, and some beverages, among others.

The intrinsic factor relates primarily to genetic predisposition. Some individuals will have brighter enamel than the rest. However, insufficient amounts of saliva, due to certain diseases and medications, may also result in discoloration. It is known that saliva helps to remove food remains and plaque from the teeth. Furthermore, traumas to the child’s teeth may lead to abnormal enamel formation. This can result in teeth discoloration and uneven thickness of the enamel.

Naturally, the outer layer of the enamel gets thinner with age. In this way, it exposes the yellow color of another layer: the dentin. There are several possibilities to approach and treat teeth discoloration. Firstly, the majority of stains on the teeth may be eliminated by various teeth whitening procedures such as in-office and home use whitening gels. Secondly, change of habits may also help in soothing the effects of discoloration. For instance, quitting or at least cutting back on smoking and coffee drinking will reduce teeth discoloration. Improved hygiene and regular teeth cleansing will also improve the overall condition of the teeth.

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