Tooth Discoloration

Tooth DiscolorationTooth discoloration or tooth staining can occur for many reasons, from what we eat and drink to simply getting older. Dentists classify discoloration into three main divisions. They include:

Extrinsic discoloration – This kind of discoloration occurs when the enamel, which is outer layer of the tooth, is stained by tea, coffee, wine, certain fruits and vegetables. Smoking is also one of the extrinsic staining causes.

Intrinsic discoloration – This occurs when the dentin, the inner structure of the tooth, gets a yellow tint. This is caused due to excessive exposure to fluoride during early childhood, use of tetracycline antibiotics by children before the age of 8 and during second half of pregnancy.

Age-related discoloration – This kind of discoloration is a combination of both extrinsic and intrinsic factors. The enamel gets thinner with age, allowing the dentin to show through. The dentin too gets a yellow tint over time. Chips and other tooth injuries also lead to tooth discoloration.

Treatment for Tooth Discoloration

Treatment options to whiten the teeth vary depending on the cause for discoloration. They are as follows:

  • Appropriate brushing and flossing techniques
  • Avoidance of foods and beverages which can cause stains
  • Dental veneers
  • Dental bondings
  • Over-the-counter whitening agents

Care / Prevention of Tooth Discoloration

Simple lifestyle changes will help in preventing tooth discoloration. For instance, cutting down or quitting tea, coffee and smoking will help. Also, practice good oral hygiene by regular brushing, flossing, dental checkups and getting teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months.