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Reasons and Remedies for Tooth Discoloration

A beautiful smile boosts your self-confidence. Conversely, if you’re embarrassed because of your dingy, discolored teeth, then your self-confidence may suffer. If you’re ashamed of your smile, then these tips and techniques may help to restore your beautiful white smile.

What Are the Causes of Stained Teeth?

There are many factors involved when you have stained and discolored teeth, and not all of them can be prevented. Sometimes, discolored teeth are due to genetics, the aging process, some medications – both prescription and over-the-counter – and injury to a permanent tooth. Some factors, however, are within your sphere of control, such as your diet and lifestyle habits.

Does My Lifestyle Contribute to My Discolored Teeth?

Although most people realize that tobacco use in any form can discolor their teeth, many don’t realize that their diet also plays a significant role in the whiteness of their teeth. As much as we enjoy some of our favorite foods and beverages, they can stain and discolor our teeth so that our smile is no longer white and bright. Foods such as the following can negatively impact the color of your teeth:

  • Dark-colored drinks: Regular consumption of coffee, cola, tea, and red wine can stain and discolor your teeth. They’re also high in acid, so they can erode your tooth enamel.
  • Carbohydrates: Although they’re some of the tastiest and most popular foods, carbohydrates are readily converted into sugars that can destroy your tooth enamel as well as your waistline.
  • Junk food snacks: Candy and gum are very popular snacks that are mostly some form of sugar, so they attack your white tooth enamel and make it appear darker.
  • Sugared beverages: Sodas, sports drinks, fruit juices, and sweet tea are rife with simple sugars that destroy your white enamel and make your teeth appear darker.
  • One of the easiest and simplest ways to whiten your teeth is to adjust your diet. If you consume any of the above, rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain water when you’re finished.

Do Some Foods Prevent Tooth Discoloration?

Just as some foods cause your teeth to appear darker, some can help your teeth appear whiter. When you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes crunchy vegetables, it’s easier to maintain a whiter smile. In addition, try the following to help whiten your teeth:

  • Plain water: Although it may seem very boring and mundane, plain water is one of the best substances you can consume for both your oral health and your physical health. The human body is comprised of about 60 percent water, so you need to maintain adequate hydration if you want healthy teeth and a healthy body.
  • Mineral or sparkling water: When consumed in moderation, mineral water or sparkling water can help maintain hydration and wash the food particles and residual acids and sugars from your mouth. Just be sure it does not contain flavorings or sweeteners.
  • Sugar-free drinks: If you are not interested in only drinking water, then sugar-free beverages can help you maintain hydration and keep the sugars, acids, and food particles flushed out. Just be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain water after drinking sugar-free beverages.
  • Cocoa: We don’t typically think of cocoa as beneficial for our teeth and smile, but dark cocoa is anti-inflammatory and can help reduce the inflammation that causes gum disease and erodes your enamel. Again, be sure to rinse your mouth afterward and consume dark cocoa, not white chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate syrup or any chocolate with a high sugar content.
  • Flax seeds and fish: Both fish and flax seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Be sure to balance your omega-3 intake with the appropriate amount of omega-6 fatty acids for the best results.
  • Dairy products: Although many people now opt for alternatives to dairy, both dairy milk and cheese are high in calcium and protein, which helps to strengthen your teeth and prevent erosion of your white tooth enamel.

Making some minor changes in your diet and lifestyle, such as rinsing your mouth thoroughly after eating or drinking, can significantly impact your smile.

Does Smoking Cause Tooth Discoloration?

Unfortunately, yes. All forms of tobacco cause tooth discoloration, and smoking is the most egregious. Although you can have somewhat whiter teeth if you smoke, they’ll never be as white as those of a non-smoker. The consensus among dentists is that tobacco use is one of the main causes of tooth discoloration and periodontal disease.

Do All Forms of Tobacco Discolor Teeth?

Whether you smoke, vape, dip, or chew, all forms of tobacco will discolor your teeth. For the best oral health as well as better physical health, tobacco abstinence is key.

What If I Want Whiter Teeth But Still Want to Smoke?

If, despite all the drawbacks, you still want to smoke, there are ways to increase the whiteness of your smile, such as the following:

  • After you smoke, brush your teeth. This removes the tar and nicotine residue that will continue to damage and darken your tooth enamel.
    After you eat or drink, brush and floss your teeth to prevent sugars, acids, and food particles from damaging your tooth enamel and causing decay.
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes foods that fight tooth darkening.
  • Get a professional tooth cleaning and checkup at least twice each year. This will help remove stains before they worsen.
  • Use a whitening toothpaste, either prescription or over the counter.
  • Use a tooth-whitening kit to lighten your teeth a couple of shades. At-home kits are less effective and take longer than those from a dentist, but they can make a difference. Be aware, though, that if you have dental work such as fillings or crowns, they may not whiten to the same shade as your natural teeth.
  • Get a professional tooth whitening. Those done in a dental office are faster and more effective than the over-the-counter kits, and your teeth will whiten to an even shade. Some dentists sell at-home kits that use professional products, so ask about them.

Smokers who want whiter teeth but don’t want to quit smoking can achieve their goal, but they need to be more proactive about it than non-smokers.

Which Tips and Habits Will Help Prevent Tooth Discoloration?

  • Get needed dental treatment promptly. If you delay, the problem will worsen and can cause your teeth to darken more.
  • Use tooth-whitening products such as toothpaste as often as possible.
    Consider crowns or veneers to cover resistant stains.

Talk to your dentist about your objectives and how you can get the whitest teeth possible for your lifestyle and habits.

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