What causes stained teeth — and what you can do about it

Ever look at a photo of yourself from only a few years ago and ask yourself, “Huh, were my teeth a bit brighter back then?” Almost everyone experiences tooth discoloration at some point in their lives. But what causes teeth to become discolored, and how can we prevent tooth discoloration? Although coffee and red wine usually get the blame for teeth discoloration, several other causes may be the culprit.

Common Reasons for Tooth Discoloration

Spotty Dental Routine — If you don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque can harden into tartar, leaving a yellow-brown color along your gums.

Diet — Some of the foods we hold dearest to our heart, like coffee on a Monday morning or an apple on a crisp, cool day, can stain our teeth. Besides coffee and red wine, a few of the foods that stain teeth include tea, berries, grapes, tomato and soy sauces, soda, dark juices, and white wine.

Tobacco Use — Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause a slew of health issues, the least worrisome of which is yellow teeth. That said, tooth discoloration is one of the most common aesthetic complaints among tobacco users.

Too Much Fluoride — Fluoride is a good thing, but like all good things, too much of it isn’t recommended. Consuming too much of it, like in tap water or through dental care products (like mouthwash), can leave streaks across or a brown outline on your teeth.

Enamel Decay — Enamel is the hard shell that protects the inside of your tooth. But if it decays or doesn’t fully develop, you may see a variety of stains and changes, including pits, white spots, or yellow-brown streaks. If you suspect you may have tooth decay, schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible.

How to Prevent Tooth Stains

The best way to prevent teeth discoloration is to take care of your teeth and your health. Here are some of the best ways to keep your teeth bright:

•    Brush after eating or drinking

•    Floss daily

•    Pass on the sugary foods and drinks

•    Add calcium to your diet

•    Nix any tobacco use

How to Whiten Stained Teeth

If you’re suffering from stained teeth or tooth discoloration, there are several ways to reclaim a bright, gleaming smile. The most common are home teeth whitening kits. Because there is so much variety in home teeth whitening kits that promise different results, many patients often ask, “Do home teeth whitening kits work?” The simple answer is yes. However, results can vary widely between products, and most require multiple applications over time to show any effect.

Another option for tooth whitening is to schedule an in-office teeth whitening session with one of our dental experts. Zoom in-office teeth whitening uses light-accelerated technology and gel to whiten teeth rapidly while Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (ACP) helps deliver enamel protection, improve luster and reduce sensitivity. Best of all, you’ll see results the day of your appointment!

If you’re interested in scheduling a teeth whitening appointment or have questions, don’t hesitate to contact our dental offices in Jacksonville, St. Augustine and St. Johns, FL for more information.

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