Stained Teeth

Contrary to conventional wisdom, medical experts claim that human teeth were never meant to be pure white. Actually, their natural color varies from light yellow to light yellow-red. However, with time, everyone’s teeth become darker.

Causes of Teeth Staining
Teeth staining can occur due to a number of natural causes such as hereditary factors, individual metabolism, age, etc. The most common factor is not among these, however. Stains develop on the teeth in the form of ‘extrinsic (external) staining’ which can be caused by one’s dietary regimen and the use of various substances.

Food and beverages leave stains on your clothes. It is only natural that they will have a staining effect on your teeth as well. Among the foods and beverages, associated with heavier staining, are red wine, coffee, cherries, grape or blueberry juice, soy sauce, and curry. Tobacco use is another cause for stains to develop. Regardless of whether you smoke or chew it, the effect of tobacco on your teeth is disastrous.

There is another category, known as ‘intrinsic (internal) staining, which occurs on the inside of the tooth. The intrinsic staining develops while the tooth is forming. It is caused by certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline, some minerals, such as fluoride, fever or any of a number of irregularities associated with tooth formation. Infections in pregnant women may also result in staining in the infant as they may affect the enamel’s development.

Some dental materials, such amalgams and materials that contain silver sulfide can cause a gray-black staining to develop. Medications such as antipsychotic drugs, antihistamines, and antihypertensive medications have been associated with staining as well. Diseases that affect the dentin and enamel may result in discoloration. In addition, staining can be caused by chemotherapy and neck and head radiation.

Stained Teeth and Treatment
Maintaining good oral hygiene is the way to preventing heavy staining. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, for around 3 minutes per brushing. Use a soft toothbrush and replace it every 3-4 months. Regular flossing is also recommended. You may choose a rinse containing fluoride, which will keep your mouth clean and stain-free. Keep in mind that some washes and rinses, like those containing cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine can also cause staining to develop. Visit your dentist at least once every six months.

Drink plenty of water. Rinse your mouth right after meals and when you drink coffee, tea, cola, red wine, etc. You can also use a sugar-free gum to clean your teeth.

Another way to prevent stains from developing is to eat crunchy food. Include apples and carrots in your daily diet. They are healthy and besides, they can remove tiny pieces of food from your teeth. Celery has a cleaning effect as well. Remember that tobacco is one of the worst enemies of teeth. It causes dark brown stains to develop on your teeth, together with discoloration.

You may also use teeth whitening products. If you consider using a home teeth whitening kit, consult your dentist first. Some products, such as teeth whitening strips and peroxide solutions can make your teeth more sensitive and even fragile. Baking soda is a relatively safer natural product with a good whitening effect. Brush your teeth in the same way as when you clean them with toothpaste. When you have drinks, use a straw if possible. The idea to sip your tea or coffee through a straw sounds a little silly, but it helps.

If none of the above has worked, ask your dentist about other options. These include veneers, crowns, and fillings. And keep in mind that prevention is the best cure.


The information provided in this article does not constitute medical advice and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. If you have a health problem you should consult a licensed physician.

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