Many things can cause dark or stained teeth. We will cover the most common causes and prevention strategies.
We will also review the different solutions we offer to help you improve your smile.
Here is a list of the most common things that cause stained, discolored or dark teeth.
Inadequate Plaque Removal
Cleaning your teeth can help with the removal of the stains from food and drink. If not cleaned properly, they will settle deeper into the teeth.
Smoking cigarettes, cigars and even smokeless tobacco can stain and discolor teeth.
Although amalgam (silver-colored) fillings are not commonly used anymore, when they are removed, they can leave significant stains.
As we age, our teeth break down and collect more stains.
Excess fluoride in children causes fluorosis, which leaves white or brown spots on the teeth.
A dark tooth can be the result of trauma. In this situation, the tooth has died, and dead tissue is building up on the inside.
The most common medication that stains teeth is tetracycline. It is not recommended for children as it causes deep, dark stains that are extremely difficult to remove. Antibiotic rinses such as chlorhexidine often cause staining as well.
Certain drinks such as coffee, teas, wine and soda are the most common causes of dental staining. Certain foods like curry or tomato-based sauces also cause staining over time.
Several genetic diseases can cause tooth abnormalities and discoloration. Infections during pregnancy and cancer treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy can also discolor the teeth.
Many stains can be prevented with regular hygiene. Brushing and flossing daily is extremely important. We recommend coming to see us at least every six months, or more if you have gum disease, to get a professional cleaning. Avoiding foods and drinks that stain can also help. Try drinking through a straw or wearing a retainer while drinking stain-causing substances. Whitening your teeth regularly can also prevent your teeth from getting darker.
Research shows that inflammation and bacteria in the mouth are linked to other diseases in the body. Many studies suggest that treating gum disease can help the immune system to fight off other diseases.
The key to results from whitening is that the longer the gel sits on the teeth, the whiter they will get. However, as whitening gel touches the adjacent gums and lips, it can start to cause sensitivity and discomfort.
Take-home trays and in-office whitening are designed to keep the gel on the teeth and limit the sensitivity and discomfort that occurs as the gel contacts the adjacent tissues.
Daily whitening for 30 days consecutively can give you the best results.
In-office whitening results depend on your ability to tolerate the sensitivity.