Stained Teeth: Causes & Treatments

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Stained Teeth: Causes & Treatments

Close-up teeth female between before and after brush the teeth.

Are you self-conscious of your smile because your teeth have become stained over time? Even those of us with the most intensive oral hygiene routines that include brushing, flossing and using mouthwash twice daily can fall victim to teeth stains.

In many cases, stained teeth can be more noticeable than chips, cracks or complete discolouration. So, if you’ve stopped flashing your smile because your teeth are stained, the following info may get you back on track to showing your pearly whites once more. 

 

What causes teeth to become stained?

If you’re not sticking to a comprehensive oral hygiene maintenance routine, the build-up of plaque and stains will become an obvious issue. That said; if you are maintaining a twice-daily brushing routine, staining can still become an issue for a number of different reasons.

Unfortunately, outside of the obvious causes such as smoking and chewing tobacco, there are many foods and drinks that we love despite them having a detrimental effect on oral hygiene. Tea, coffee, wine, acidic fruits and fruit juices (especially blueberries and blackberries), fizzy drinks and those sweet treats you adore so much all cause staining of the teeth.

And the causes don’t stop there. Ageing, mouth injuries, antibiotic use and genetics all have a part to play too.

 

What are the treatments for stained teeth?

Before we dive into the treatments available, it’s important to understand that there are 3 types of stains. Each of these types comes with their own treatments for stain removal.

  1. Extrinsic stains – These are stains to the exterior enamel of teeth and are the most common. Extrinsic stains are caused by diet and habits such as smoking. The pigments in acidic foods and drinks are absorbed by tooth enamel leading to staining, whereas habits like smoking break down the enamel leaving the teeth vulnerable to dark staining.

    As these stains relate to the exterior of the teeth, they rarely require permanent dental treatments to aid removal. The use of tooth whitening toothpastes will somewhat improve the appearance but for even whiter teeth, the best option is teeth whitening treatments from your local dentist. These professional treatments will usually be successful in increasing the colour of your teeth by several shades even after the initial treatment.

  2. Intrinsic stains – These are stains inside teeth and usually occur as a reaction to certain medications, particularly antibiotics from previous decades or from physical injury to a tooth.

    Toothpastes won’t do the trick for intrinsic stains and only, in some cases, can teeth whitening treatments improve the appearance of intrinsic stains. However effective these are, for the majority of people dental veneers are the most effective treatment. The huge advantage that veneers have over teeth whitening is that stains can be completely covered. It’s important to note, however, that veneers be used only for intrinsic stains, when teeth whitening isn’t feasible.

  3. Age-related – As one ages, the enamel of teeth becomes thinner and the inner dentin becomes gradually darker.

    When it comes to natural age-related stains, professional teeth whitening and dental veneers are both feasible options. A dentist can examine your teeth and advise you on the best suitable treatment depending on the severity of the staining.

Just remember, you shouldn’t let stained teeth hold you back from flashing a smile. A quick, effective, affordable solution is available so get advice from your dentist and explore the options available to you.