Tooth discoloration happens when your teeth change color. They no longer look as white or bright as they should. In most cases, teeth may darken and turn from white to other colors, or have dark spots. When you spot discoloration, you should seek a remedy as early as possible to reverse the damage. There are many solutions for teeth whitening that you can implement by yourself. You could order an at home teeth whitening kit and follow instructions to restore your teeth to that glimmering smile you’ve always adored.
What Causes Teeth Discoloration and Stains?
Tooth discoloration or staining can happen because of many reasons. It’s a common occurrence that is preventable and curable. In most cases, the discoloration is “extrinsic,” which means it affects the enamel alone and could easily be corrected. Here are some of the main reasons for teeth discoloration.
- Foods and drinks
Foods can stain your teeth if you don’t maintain proper maintenance of your teeth. For example, tea, coffee, wines, colas, and fruits such as apples and potatoes can stain your teeth.
- Tobacco use
Chewing or smoking tobacco also stains teeth. Clinical research has shown that there’s a higher prevalence of tooth discoloration among smokers compared to non-smokers. The research added that smokers experienced a high level of dissatisfaction with the way they look because of their teeth' appearance.
- Teeth Disease
Some diseases that affect the enamel – your teeth’s hard surface – could lead to discoloration. Also, treatments such as chemotherapy and head and neck radiation could affect tooth color. Some infections in pregnant mothers can also cause discoloration.
- Environmental factors
Living in an environment where you’re exposed to excessive fluoride could cause your teeth to discolor. Even fluoride applications, toothpaste, rinses, and supplements can cause discoloration.
As you grow older, your teeth' outer layer will wear away. This reveals your natural color of dentin, which appears yellowish or brown.
Damage from a fall could disturb enamel formation in children. Trauma could also cause tooth discoloration among adults.
Staining by Color
The condition of staining can tell a lot about what caused the problem. Yellow staining is mostly a result of smoking, poor oral hygiene, certain medications, beverages, and consuming a diet high in simple sugars.
Brown staining often happens because of untreated tooth decay, fruits like blackberries, tobacco use, and tartar buildup.
You can also experience a white cavity, which causes a white spot on your tooth that becomes darker as it advances. Excessive fluorite can also create white spots.
A black stain or spot can be caused by liquid iron supplements, fillings and crowns with silver sulfide, and an advanced dental cavity.
Remedies for Teeth Discoloration
Now that you know what causes teeth discoloration, what remedies do you have that you can implement at home? There are many treatments for discolored teeth, so it’s advisable to pick a few and rotate them throughout a week. You can experiment with these teeth whitening solutions to find the most effective for your needs.
- Brushing Your Teeth
Yes, it begins with the simplest fixes. While you may never skip a day without brushing your teeth, not doing it correctly will lead to teeth discoloration. You should brush more often, especially after consuming foods and drinks that could create yellow spots or discoloration.
However, when you consume acidic foods and drinks, you should not brush immediately because the acids can brush away your enamel and lead to erosion over time. It’s recommended to brush your teeth twice every day for at least two minutes at a time. Ensure you reach all the cracks and crevices. Always brush gently and move in a circular motion to protect your gums. Don’t forget to reach the inside, the outside, and the chewing surfaces.
According to a 2018 study, using whitening toothpaste helps to brighten your smile. Most whitening toothpastes contain mild abrasives that help to remove surface stains and are gentle enough. An electric toothbrush comes in handy as it’s more effective if you want to remove stains from your teeth.
- Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda
Besides ordering special toothpaste, you can make an at-home remedy for your discolored teeth. Baking soda with hydrogen peroxide removes plaque and bacteria, helping you to get rid of stains.
You need two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and one of baking soda to make a paste. Brush with the paste, then rinse your mouth with water. These are products you can order online. Studies have verified that using the mixture effectively clears surface stains.
- Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal also removes stains from teeth. It’s believed it can clear pigments and stains because it’s highly absorbent, and it also gets rid of bacteria and toxins in your mouth. You can find toothpaste that contains activated charcoal that helps to whiten teeth.
Using activated charcoal, gently brush your teeth in small circles for at least 2 minutes. But be careful on areas around your gums because activated charcoal can be abrasive. Spit it out and use water to rinse your mouth.
If you have sensitive teeth, you can dab some of it on your teeth and let it to rest for 2 minutes. Also, mixing activated charcoal with water to make a soluble mouthwash could clear stains and discoloration. Swish the solutions for 2 minutes, then spit it out. Don’t forget to rinse your mouth thoroughly.
Although more scientific evidence is required to establish the benefits of activated charcoal in teeth whitening, a 2019 research paper found that toothpaste with activated charcoal can whiten teeth in 4 weeks.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
You can use apple cider vinegar in small amounts to whiten teeth. Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with six ounces of water to make a mouthwash. Swish the solution for about 30 seconds, then rinse your mouth with water. According to recent research, apple cider vinegar offers a bleaching effect on teeth.
How to Prevent Teeth Staining
With all the solutions available on teeth whitening, you need to protect your teeth against staining and discoloration. To prevent discoloration, you may need to make a few lifestyle adjustments. These include cutting back on drinks such as coffee and tea, or finding alternative beverages that don’t stain your teeth.
If you smoke, seek help to quit as it not only affects your teeth, it will also impact your health negatively. Most importantly, up your dental hygiene game and do regular check-ups and cleaning.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
The safety of teeth whitening depends on the methods you embrace. It’s advisable to stick with dentist-approved methods to avoid complications. Find at-home products whose composition is mild to your teeth and gums, especially if you suffer from tooth sensitivity. Most conventional solutions for teeth whitening are safe as long as you stick with the product’s directions.
Your teeth can develop discoloration because of different reasons. If you notice discoloration on your teeth, you should find a whitening routine that can help you restore them to their former shining glory. There are different methods to whiten your teeth, including brushing correctly and more frequently, using an at-home whitening kit, and also making your own teeth whitening paste using common ingredients.