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7 Things That Can Turn Your White Teeth Into Not-So-White Teeth

March 31, 2014
Posted By: Dr. Russell D. Mann
woman smiling while dentist holds dental mirror in front of her teeth

They’re called pearly whites for a reason, and most people aim to keep their teeth both pearly and white. But many variables can cause teeth to lose their luster. Here are seven things that have people turning to teeth whitening to get their smiles as bright as they once were.

1. What you eat and drink.

Foods and drinks that come into contact with your teeth on a regular basis can cause discoloration, and some foods cause more staining than others. Coffee, tea, colored soda, red wine, and fruit juice are among the beverages that are known to stain teeth. While foods like berries, colored candy, beets, and curry are also common culprits.

2. Poor hygiene

Plaque and food substances left on your teeth for long periods of time can also discolor your teeth. If having white teeth is important to you, make sure you brush at least twice a day and floss every day as well.

3. Tobacco

Smoking or chewing tobacco can cause ugly brown stains that sink into the grooves in your enamel. This makes brushing them away very difficult. Most tobacco stains will need to be professionally removed by a dentist.

4. Medications

Certain medications have been known to cause intrinsic stains, meaning the discoloration occurred during the formation of the teeth. Tetracycline and Doxycycline are examples of antibiotics that have been proven to cause intrinsic tooth staining.

5. Age

As you age, your naturally white enamel can become thin and more transparent. The yellow dentin underneath the enamel can then become more visible, making your teeth appear more yellow. Because of this, solutions to achieving a younger smile involve procedures like veneers or crowns.

6. Genetics

Some people are just born with whiter teeth than others. It could be the shade of their enamel, or their enamel could be thicker than most.

7. Trauma

A mouth injury can cause blood to leak into the dentin, darkening the tooth. The tooth may turn gray or black, and may eventually turn back to its natural color. A dentist can determine what the proper course of action is for an injured tooth, depending on if it’s a baby tooth or if there is nerve damage.

If you have any questions about teeth whitening or how you can prevent your teeth from discoloring, please contact us.

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