Do you hate the yellow, brown, grey or chalky white marks on your teeth? Do you know where they came from? Understanding the cause of tooth discolouration can be a huge help in working to eliminate it. The experts at Harley St Smile know precisely how to remedy each type of stain in the most effective way, so take a look below at their top five causes – and cures – for stained teeth.
Category One – Extrinsic Staining
If you have dark staining rising up from your gumline, permeating the gaps between your teeth or sitting as a mark on the front or back of a few teeth, it is likely extrinsic staining. That means it affects the surface of the teeth only. It’s most commonly yellow, brown or darker, and don’t worry – it’s the easiest type of discolouration to deal with.
Cause 1: Food and Drink
If you regularly eat sugary foods, such as sweets or certain fruits like berries and citrus, or drink fruit juices, fizzy drinks or red wine, the colouring of the surface of your teeth is likely to suffer.
Cause 2: Smoking
The yellow or black stains resulting from cigarette smoking can be harder to fix, but still possible. The more regularly you smoke, the more obvious and tough the discolouration can be.
Extrinsic Staining Cures
Of course, the most effective way to reduce extrinsic staining long-term is to cut down on the habits that created it. However, to resolve the damage that has already been done, a simple course of professional whitening – applied and/or supplied by an expert cosmetic dentist – will often do the trick. You must then remember to continue with a good oral health regime and try to cut down on the food, drink or other activities that caused the issue in the first place.
Category Two – Intrinsic Staining
Intrinsically stained teeth have been discoloured by certain chemicals within the body, affecting their internal structure. If whole – or significant portions – of teeth are grey, brown or speckled with white dots, this is usually due to intrinsic discolouration.
Cause 1: Tetracycline Antibiotics
Often used to treat bad acne, but also for other medical purposes, tetracycline is a type of antibiotic regularly prescribed by doctors. If you’ve had a course of this medicine in the past, it is quite likely to be the cause of your grey or brown tooth staining.
Cause 2: Fluorosis
The tap water in some areas features higher levels of fluoride, and many toothpastes contain this chemical too. If you imbibed excessive amounts of this chemical as a child – while your tooth enamel was still forming – it’s almost a given that the white marks or areas of “mottled enamel” on your teeth are due to fluorosis.
Intrinsic Staining Cures
Staining affecting the internal makeup of the tooth is naturally much more difficult – even impossible – to shift. However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up the dream of perfect teeth. Dental veneers are an increasingly popular fix for many issues – both aesthetic and physical – and, with recent advances, look completely natural. Simply put, they are a thin but sturdy layer of material permanently applied to the front of the tooth. Porcelain is the most popular material for this purpose as it can be easily shaped and colour-matched to the rest of the smile. For a more detailed outlook on veneers check out our porcelain veneers guide.