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What Causes Teeth to Lose Their Whiteness?

Nov 08, 2023
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Are you often wondering if some of your habits dim the white sparkle of your smile? Read on to learn about the most common causes behind tooth stains and discolorations.

If you drink coffee, tea, or fruit juice, you may stain your teeth over time, even with regular brushing habits. A proper hygiene regimen can delay the effects of exposing your teeth to various pigments, but with time, your teeth may get yellower anyway. 

The truth is that most foods and drinks stain teeth. Anything that contains a plant pigment will stain your teeth. So unless you plan to survive on a diet of meat, eggs, and cheese, you may see changes in your smile as you age. Fortunately, not all is lost. Our experts at Sabrina E. Mickel DDS & Associates explain the other causes of teeth staining and the available treatments so you’ll enjoy the pearly-white smile you’ve always dreamed of. 

Common causes of tooth discoloration and stains 

You may be surprised to find out that not only your diet but even some medications and medical conditions can darken and stain teeth. Common causes of stains and discolorations on teeth include:

  • Dental fluorosis: a condition triggered by excessive fluoride that causes poor mineralization and white stains on the surface of teeth
  • Aging: As you get older, the enamel on the surface of your teeth is worn down, revealing the dentin underneath, which is yellower 
  • Certain medications (blood pressure drugs, antibiotics, and antihistamines)
  • Smoking cigarettes regularly 

In most people, the most common cause of tooth stains and discolorations is a diet high in sugar and poor dental hygiene. The sugar in the foods feeds the bacteria in your mouth that create acids as a byproduct of breaking down the sugar. These acids attack the tooth enamel, causing cavities and discoloration. 

Treating discolorations and stains 

Depending on the cause, our specialists may recommend both regular cleanings to prevent plaque from building up and damaging your enamel and also treatments that address existing stains. 

If you have healthy enamel but still experience staining, professional teeth whitening treatments may restore the whiteness of your smile. 

If the damage is slightly more extensive, veneers can be placed on top of the tooth to mask the stains. Regardless of how darkened or stained your teeth are, there’s a solution for everyone. 

Learn more about preventing and treating dental stains. 

Fortunately, with the help of modern dentistry, anyone can not only dream of but also have a white smile. If you want to build confidence and freshen your appearance but don’t know where to start, contact the Sabrina E. Mickel team to schedule an appointment. Our experts will examine you and tell you what treatments work best for your aesthetic goals.