You may have heard the phrase “pearly whites” to describe a smile and how teeth should look, but unless you’re a celebrity or model, chances are your teeth aren’t “Hollywood” white. In fact, the most common color for teeth is whitish-yellow, and tinges such as red, brown, and gray are considered to be abnormal. Teeth can become discolored or stained from a variety of things such as food and drinks, lifestyle choices, and diseases, but often these discolorations can be reversed with certain dental treatments or simple routine changes.
If you’re wanting to makeover your smile, we have the latest technology and tools to help! Our specialists can recommend treatments, regimens, and practices that will help reverse or improve discoloration of teeth. If you’re ready to achieve a white, healthy smile, trust the experts at Academy Dental Care in Albuquerque today!
Which Area of the Tooth is Stained?
Our teeth are comprised of three layers – enamel, dentin, and pulp. Enamel is the visible, outer layer of the tooth made of a hard substance, and dentin is the middle, yellowish layer of the tooth that lies directly under the enamel – these are the areas of tooth that can be discolored. Most stains fall under two categories, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains affect the enamel and can typically be removed or brightened, while intrinsic stains occur within the dentin layer of the tooth and are more difficult to remove.
What is Staining my Teeth?
The first step to achieving beautiful, white teeth is to examine your habits, oral care routine, and other factors that may be causing discoloration.
Food and Drinks
There are a variety of foods and drinks that can stain teeth. Well known culprits are coffee, soda, tea, wine, berries, curries, and dark sauces; these are high in pigment-producing substances that stick to the enamel of the tooth. Other food and beverages that are high in acidity such as lemons, oranges, and limes don’t cause stains but they do weaken and erode the enamel, exposing the yellowish color of the dentin and allowing stain-producing substances to attach themselves more easily.
Smoking and Tobacco
As if the tar and nicotine found in cigarettes and tobacco weren’t damaging enough to your oral health, they also cause stubborn tooth stains. The chemicals from these products leave a yellowish or brownish tinge on the surface of teeth and overtime, produce stains that are hard to remove.
Poor Dental Hygiene
Dental care is important because it helps remove stain-producing substances and plaque that can eventually turn teeth yellow. Practicing proper dental care includes brushing and flossing twice a day, rinsing with mouthwash, and visiting the dentist twice yearly!
Medications and Diseases
Children who have taken medication before their teeth are fully developed or whose mothers took certain medications while pregnant or breastfeeding, may have discolored teeth. Medication for certain diseases and illnesses such as high blood pressure and asthma have been known to cause teeth to turn yellow, in addition to individuals who are undergoing chemotherapy in the head and neck areas.
While most stains are caused by everyday decisions and lifestyle choices, there are some reasons why teeth are discolored that are inevitable. As we age, our enamel thins from years of wear and eventually exposes the yellowish color of dentin. Others’ teeth may be yellow simply because of genetics or by inheriting dentinogenesis imperfecta and amelogenesis imperfecta, which causes teeth to develop improperly. Lastly, trauma to the teeth, at a young or adult age, can cause a grayish appearance – this can also be caused by people who excessively grind their teeth and remove the layer of enamel.
Whiter Teeth with Academy Dental Care
If you’re ready to say goodbye to yellow teeth, the first step is to speak with our specialists. Though there are many treatment options to whiten teeth, it’s important to speak with a dental professional who can properly identify the cause and prescribe the correct treatment. Call (505) 828-2020 to schedule an appointment at Academy Dental Care and get ready to show off those pearly whites!