Stained Teeth

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We expose our teeth to a number of substances on a daily basis. Some of these substances can affect the colour of our teeth, especially fizzy drinks, acidic juices, cigarette smoke and coffee. Ingesting substances such as these can prevent your teeth from remaining their natural white colour. Most teeth won't ever be completely white, with most teeth having a yellow tinge to start off with. Similarly as you grow older your natural tooth colour is prone to darkening. This occurs because of the enamel located on the surface of your teeth becoming eroded as time goes by and due to cracks forming. Cracks expose the inner section of your tooth, known as the dentin. This part of the tooth is more vulnerable to staining than the enamel as it is much more porous and absorbs colours from certain types of food and drinks. Other types of stains occur due to injury or trauma to the mouth or because of a medical condition contracted while your teeth were developing.

Types of Stained Teeth

Stains are commonly broken down into two groups; Intrinsic and Extrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains usually occur on the outer layers of the teeth due to insufficient oral hygiene, ingesting foods and drinks that are prone to staining or certain kinds of antibiotics. Intrinsic stains are located on the tooth's inner layers and are much harder to get rid of. These are commonly caused by extensive fluoride exposure or the use of tetracycline antibiotics in young children. Tooth decay and stains caused by smoking can penetrate the layers of your teeth and can often cause both extrinsic and intrinsic stains.

Treatment for Stained Teeth

If you are experiencing extensive staining then you may need to visit a your dentist. For less severe staining there are several steps you can take to protect against staining and keep your teeth healthy. Most dentists recommend you brush your teeth and floss at least twice a day and have regular check-ups so that any problems can be spotted and dealt with before they become a serious issue. Although it is advised to brush after every meal, this is not always practical so alternatives include rinsing your mouth out with water to dislodge any food debris and help minimise the damage caused by drinks and foods with a penchant for staining. It is important to maintain a healthy and varied diet as some fruits and vegetables can actually be beneficial to your oral health. If you are a smoker, then it is highly recommended that you quit as this can have a huge impact on your oral health including the appearance of stained teeth.

Professionally dispensed or at home tooth whitening kits can be used to lighten your teeth and lessen the appearance of stains on teeth. Prophy-flex air abrasion system is also an excellent option for removing certain types of stains.

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