All Of Your Teeth Staining Questions Answered

Iqaluit Dental Clinic image of a person with very stained teeth.
February 15, 2023 0 Comments

At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we believe many people suffer from tooth discolouration or staining as they grow older due to a variety of reasons. You can easily notice the signs of tooth staining when observing them in a mirror. The most common sign is that your tooth loses its natural white lustre and can turn into a different colour. Fortunately, tooth staining and discolouration is usually not an indicator of a serious health issue and mainly affects your self-esteem and social standing. And, it is possible to prevent and even treat tooth staining when you know the correct guidelines.

Let’s look at the most common questions related to teeth staining:

1. The types of tooth discolouration – Generally, tooth discolouration can be categorized into three different types: extrinsic, intrinsic, and age-related. Let’s look at them in detail below:

  • Extrinsic – This type of tooth discolouration affects the exterior of the tooth, and the most common causes include tobacco, food, and beverages.
  • Intrinsic – This type of tooth discolouration affects the interior of the tooth enamel which makes them resistant to OTC whitening products. Typically, it takes on a grayish shade. The common causes of intrinsic tooth discoloration include trauma or injury to the tooth, too much fluoride, genetics, certain medications, and tooth decay.
  • Age-related – Age-related tooth staining can occur due to both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Typically, it is the result of the enamel of your teeth wearing away as you grow older and takes on a yellow appearance.

2. The factors that cause tooth discolouration – There are several factors that can cause tooth staining, but they are mostly divided into lifestyle habits and dental health issues. Let’s take a look at them in detail below:

  • Foods and drinks – Common food and drinks such as red sauces, chocolate, tea, coffee, red wine, and more can stain your teeth.
  • Tobacco use – Consuming tobacco in the form of cigarettes or chewing tobacco can lead to tooth staining.
  • Diseases – Diseases that affect the enamel and dentin of your teeth can lead to the staining of the teeth. In fact, the colour of your tooth can also be affected when you undergo treatment such as head and neck radiation and chemotherapy. Sometimes, when a pregnant woman becomes infected, they can affect the development of enamel in their baby which can lead to tooth discolouration.
  • Poor dental hygiene – People who don’t brush, floss, or rinse their mouth and teeth regularly fail to remove food debris, plaque, and stain-producing substances which lead to tooth staining.
  • Certain medications – Mouthwashes and rinses that include cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine can stain your teeth. When children under the age of 8 are given antibiotics such as doxycycline and tetracycline when their teeth are still developing, it can lead to the staining of their teeth. Antipsychotic drugs, antihistamines like Benadryl, and drugs for high blood pressure can also cause tooth staining.
  • Environment – Too much fluoride due to the use of fluoride toothpaste, rinses, supplements, and applications or the presence of excessive fluoride in water can lead to tooth staining.
  • Dental materials – Amalgam restorations that include silver sulfide materials can cast a grey-black colour to the teeth.
  • Trauma – Children who suffer damage to their teeth due to a fall or accident when their teeth are still developing can suffer from tooth staining.
  • Ageing – The outer layer of the teeth can strip away to reveal the inner, natural color of the dentin as you grow older.
  • Genetics – Some people have thicker or brighter enamel than others.

3. Staining by the colour of your teeth – You can speculate the cause of tooth staining by observing the colour of the stained teeth. Let’s look at the different stain colours in more detail below:

  • Yellow – Yellow staining can be caused due to chronic dry mouth, poor dental hygiene, the consumption of beverages such as tea, red wine, or coffee, certain medications, smoking, and chewing tobacco.
  • White – Too much fluoride can lead to fluorosis, a condition which leads to the development of white spots on your teeth.
  • Brown – Untreated tooth decay, tartar build-up, tobacco use, and the consumption of beverages and fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, and pomegranates can cause brown staining.
  • Purple – The consumption of red wine can stain the enamel of your teeth in such a hue.
  • Black – Black staining is often a sign of advanced dental decay. It can also be caused due to the fillings and crowns that include silver sulfide, chewing on betel nuts, and exposure of the teeth to minerals such as manganese, iron, and silver in an industrial setting.

4. How to prevent tooth staining – The best way to prevent tooth staining is to practice good oral hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing your teeth after each meal, in the morning after you get up, and before going to bed.

You have to be careful consuming pigmented food and beverages that can stain your teeth. Additionally, you can use teeth-whitening toothpaste and rinses to minimize the risk of pesky stains. Also, cutting back on the consumption of tobacco can reduce the risk of tooth staining.

5. Tooth staining treatment options – You can opt for over-the-counter teeth whitening products such as whitening strips and toothpaste to diminish surface stains, but these are not that effective on deeper, intrinsic stains.

At-home treatments through your dentist and in-office treatment produce more effective results which can even treat deep tooth discolouration. In-office treatment is the best since it offers quick and the most effective results and also lasts longer since dentists use a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide for teeth whitening when compared to at-home products.

At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we suggest you consult your dentist if you believe normal teeth whitening products are not producing any effective results to fix your teeth staining. In such cases, you need a more thorough treatment offered by dental professionals. Additionally, it is sensible to book an appointment with the dentist if you notice signs of cavities, injury, or other oral health problems in addition to teeth discolouration.