7 Facts About Tooth Stain Everyone Should Know

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Nobody wants to walk around with yellow, stained teeth, which is why ads for tooth-whitening products are everywhere. Dozens of different toothpastes claim to whiten your teeth, and then there are other products ranging from whitening rinses to tooth stain removal strips. The goal of these products is to make stained teeth whiter and leave you feeling better about your mouth. Here are some causes for stained teeth and some solutions on how to restore that natural, pearly shine.

Stains from Foods and Drinks

Many foods we eat can stain our teeth. Berries such as cranberries, cherries, blackberries and blueberries cause teeth stains. The rich color of these fruits can stick to the enamel of the teeth and leave a thin film over them. Acidic foods like pickles and tomato sauce or ketchup can erode the enamel and cause stains. Of course, many sweets with coloring agents can also potentially leave a film on your teeth and stain them depending on how regularly you consume them.

Furthermore, there are many drinks which can stain teeth. Coffee is chromogen-rich and can stain teeth, but not as much as tea because it is lower in tannins. The tannins in both black tea and wine are known to promote stains. Wine also contains chromogens and is highly acidic, making it a significant contributor to teeth staining. Similarly, cola is acidic and chromogen-rich and is just as capable of staining teeth, especially when consumed during the course of a day. Additionally, many sports drinks are highly acidic and can inflict significant damage to tooth enamel, softening it and allowing staining to occur.

Tooth Stains from Smoking

Cigarettes can stain teeth dramatically. Cigarettes contain both tar and nicotine, both of which stain teeth and damage the gums. While nicotine is colorless, when mixed with oxygen, the substance turns yellow. During smoking, nicotine and tar settle in the mouth and go into openings in the tooth enamel. The nicotine and tar can then discolor the surface of the tooth.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor dental hygiene can contribute greatly to teeth staining. Without brushing and regular flossing, plaque and teeth-staining foods and substances can remain on the teeth and worsen discoloration. Hard-to-reach plaques can also build up between the teeth. Unless these buildups are flossed out, the deposits will harden until only dentists can remove them.

Side Effects from Medication

Certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline and doxycycline, are known to discolor teeth, especially in younger children. Antihistamines, antipsychotics and high blood pressure medications can also cause teeth discoloration.

Age and Genetics

Certain people may be naturally blessed with brighter and thicker enamel, but that doesn’t mean their teeth are healthier. In addition, enamel on the teeth naturally wears away with age. Since the enamel is what makes teeth white, as the enamel wears away, teeth will appear yellow due to the natural color of dentin underneath.

Minimizing Stains

There are a number of ways to minimize stains caused by the foods and drinks we consume. Obviously, the first is to brush and floss regularly. However, you should not brush immediately after consuming acidic foods or beverages, because the enamel is softened for at least 30 minutes and is susceptible to damage. When drinking beverages, sipping through a straw moves liquids past the front teeth so that they are not subjected to staining. Further, swallowing relatively immediately after chewing can help prevent staining. Savoring flavors only gives foods and beverages a better chance to expose your teeth to stain-promoting substances.

Home Teeth Whitening Products

While all toothpastes can help remove surface stains, some toothpaste contains chemicals that provide additional stain removal. These whitening toothpastes can only help remove surface stains. In order to whiten deep stains, products containing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide must be used. They help to brighten the color deep within teeth. There are also many whitening strips and gels available which contain peroxide and are applied directly to the teeth. Results for strips and gels are noticeable within the first few days, and the results can last for around four months. Whitening rinses are also available which usually contain hydrogen peroxide which whitens teeth.

Try Dental Help

In dental offices, patients can opt to bleach their teeth. A whitening product is placed on the teeth, and with applied heat or a laser, results can be seen after one treatment. However, in order to see dramatic results, several appointments may be required. Nevertheless, bleaching does not improve the health of the teeth. It can only change its appearance.

Over-the-counter whitening products are generally less effective in whitening teeth but will be significantly cheaper. It is advisable that certain people not use whitening products, such as children under 16, pregnant women, people with sensitive teeth, people with gum disease, as well as people with crowns and fillings. It is best to consult a dentist before making a choice to whiten your teeth. Whichever options people use to whiten their teeth, the results are never permanent. Regular whitening is best achieved through good oral hygiene and attention to diet choices.

Anna enjoys blogging about a variety of topics, from fashion and beauty to food and travel. Find Anna on LinkedIn!

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