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Richard L. Rausch, DDS
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Reasons and Remedies for Tooth Discoloration

If your teeth are dull, yellowed, or discolored, you may be embarrassed to show off your smile to those with whom you come in contact. However, it doesn’t have to be a permanent problem! Consider some of the practical solutions for whitening your teeth and keeping them healthier for a lifetime’s worth of more beautiful smiles outlined below. After you’ve looked through the info, contact your dentist. Finding a team that will work with you and your family members to help you feel much more confident with the appearance of your teeth can go a long way in helping you smile more.

Why Do Teeth Become Stained?

Your teeth can become stained because of the foods you eat, the medications you take, injuries that your teeth have sustained, and the normal processes of aging. Decay can also lead to discoloration and darkening of your teeth, which can make you less willing to smile and to interact with others. Tobacco use, including cigarettes and snuff, are implicated in the yellowing and staining of teeth. Understanding these factors in tooth discoloration can you identify what might be causing your yellow teeth and help you take action to make them whiter. It’s important to keep your teeth beautiful and your smile bright for many years to come.

Diet Plays a Role

The foods you eat and beverages you drink can have a big impact on the appearance of your teeth. Sugary and sweet snacks and drinks can interact with bacteria in your mouth to create a substance known as plaque. Over time, plaque attacks and weakens the enamel shell of teeth to create discoloration or to reveal the color of tissue just under the enamel. This can cause serious issues with your appearance and the structural strength of your teeth. Thinning enamel is a major cause of darkening and discoloration of teeth.

Coffee, tea and dark-colored wines can stain teeth to leave dark or discolored patches on your tooth enamel. This can cause embarrassment and an unwillingness to smile for you and other members of your family affected by these stains. You can enjoy the greatest confidence in your appearance by correcting cosmetic issues with your teeth today. Remember to avoid frequently eating or drinking things that can stain your teeth or weaken your enamel. In some cases you don’t have to abstain completely, rather, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after consuming staining items.

Foods to Fight Tooth Discoloration

While some foods can definitely have a negative impact on your teeth, others can help you keep your teeth clean and strong for a lifetime of brighter smiles. Some of the best foods and drinks to maintain healthier teeth include the following:

  • Water and sugar-free beverages are good choices for avoiding stained or discolored teeth. Water is the preferred choice because it can remove particles of food along with plaque and bacteria from your mouth. Other sugar-free drinks, however, are also useful in managing the health of your teeth and preventing tooth decay and damage to your tooth enamel.
  • Calcium-rich milk and cheese products are capable of neutralizing acids in your mouth and can strengthen the structures of your teeth and bones.
  • Cocoa has been shown to have a positive effect in reducing inflammation, which is a major factor in the development of gum disease.
  • Flax seeds and fish are rich in nutrients called omega-3 fatty acids. These anti-inflammatory substances can provide added help in protecting you and your teeth against the damaging effects of gingivitis and gum disease.

If you are concerned about the look of your teeth or the effects of your diet on your teeth, speak to your dentist. Your dentist can provide you with recommendations about the best options for adjusting your diet to ensure the healthiest teeth both now and in the future.

The Dental Hazards of Tobacco

Smoking or chewing tobacco can have a significant negative effect on the appearance and health of your teeth. Yellow or brown stains are common among long-time smokers. Additionally, the chemicals present in tobacco can cause irritation and inflammation of the gums, which can result in gum disease and the overall weakening of your teeth and their attachment points to your jaw. If you currently smoke or chew tobacco socially or infrequently, most dentists and doctors will strongly recommend that you quit this unhealthy habit completely. If you already smoke or chew tobacco frequently, a medical professional can offer practical suggestions to reduce the impact of this behavior on your teeth and your gums.

How to Prevent Tooth Discoloration

There are a number of strategies designed to help you keep your teeth whiter and your mouth healthier. Some of the most practical recommendations offered by dentists include the following:

  • Schedule regular teeth cleaning appointments with your dental team. We recommend twice-annual visits to achieve the best results.
  • Brush your teeth after each meal and floss at least once each day to remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth and gums.
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco.
  • Choose healthy and nutritious foods with plenty of calcium, vitamins and nutrients to keep your body healthy and your teeth strong.
  • Rinse your mouth after drinking wine, coffee or other dark-colored drinks.
  • Make appointments for regular checkups with your dental team. This can ensure that any developing issues will be spotted and dealt with promptly to avoid damage to your teeth.

Strategies for Whiter Teeth and a Brighter Smile

If your teeth are already discolored, it’s not too late to remove these stains and to restore your teeth to their former beauty, in most cases. Some of the strategies recommended most often include:

  • Professional tooth whitening in a dental office is the most effective and practical way to eliminate discolorations of your teeth promptly.
  • Over-the-counter tooth whitening solutions are not as effective as the options available from a dental office, but can still be effective, you will just need to monitor the results carefully.
  • For severely discolored teeth, veneers and crowns may offer added cosmetic benefits that can cover up any evidence of discoloration and can help you look your very best.

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Richard L. Rausch, DDS

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(646) 863-8184

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