Tooth discoloration comes about because of stains on the teeth or internal changes within the teeth. Dr. Lohmann can help identify the cause of tooth discoloration and then determine which type of treatment options will work for you.
Coffee, tea, wine, colas and sugary juices and foods with refined sugar are some of the worst offenders. Unfortunately, we need to add cookies, candy and sugary deserts to the top of the list of foods that are bad for our teeth.
But why? It doesn’t seem fair that we have to use discretion when enjoying our favorite foods.
Bacteria love sugar and when you eat those yummy cookies, candy and other sugary treats, you are feeding the bacteria. When the bacteria consume the sugar, they release acids, which contribute to yellowing teeth, tooth decay, and ultimately cavities. Same goes for sugary drinks. The combination of these sugary substances and bacteria can turn to plaque and plaque turns teeth yellow. Plaque has bacteria that release acid and the acid eats away at the enamel. Plaque build-up leads to tarter. Tarter occurs when minerals stick to the plaque. Tar can be yellow, but gets darker over time, if not treated.
Then there are drinks that stain your teeth, but the reasons are different. Coffee and tea have tannins, (compounds found in nature) which directly cause staining. by causing color compounds to stick to your teeth. Tea can contribute to grayish or yellowish stains and one cup of coffee a day is enough to cause yellow stains.
Additionally, Acidic foods, dark in colors and foods high in sugar, such as blueberries, blackberries and cherries make the teeth more porous, causing the enamel to soften and can contribute to discoloration.
Carbonated sodas are especially bad, because carbonation is acidic (and can make holes in your teeth.)
TOBACCO – Chewing or smoking tobacco can darken teeth.
Almost all fruits have some acidic properties that can contribute to staining, but of course that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them. (Keep reading)
Don’t avoid healthy fruits and vegetables. They have nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties that are good for the teeth. The vitamin C of fruits help decrease inflammation. Dark green vegetables, which contain Vitamin A, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus can aid dental health. These vegetables can help create a film that protects teeth from acidic foods, so if possible, eat your veggies first and crunch on a few after eating fruit.
And what would our morning be like without our coffee or our tea? Don’t fret, there are some things you can do, like drinking through a straw, adding milk to your tea and rinsing with water afterwards.
Some other tips: Don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating these foods – they can cause your enamel to soften and you don’t want to wear away the protective enamel. Instead, rinse your mouth with water and try to eat some crunchy foods like carrots or celery for a natural tooth scrub. And wait about ½ hour before you pick up the brush. And regular brushing and flossing makes teeth happy.
The good news is that treatment for teeth stains caused by external factors is usually successful. Dr. Lohmann can help choose which method will work best on your teeth.
Internal factors That Cause Tooth Discoloration
Discoloration caused by internal factors occurs when the dentin (internal structure of the tooth) is affected and darkens or yellows.
There are some diseases that can affect the enamel and the dentin. Most patients in this category are cognizant of their condition and are already being treated by a medical doctor. Dr. Lohmann ensures that he is aware of any diagnosed medical condition and ongoing treatment before embarking on dental treatment.
Radiation and chemotherapy can discolor teeth as well some medications such as tetracycline. Oxycycline can discolor the still developing of teeth of children. Add Benadryl, antipsychotic drugs and antihypertensives to the list of potential teeth discoloration medications.
Mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpryidinium chloride can cause teeth staining.
Dental materials such as amalgam and materials containing silver- sulfide can cause a graying of the teeth.
Aging As we get older, the outer layer of enamel gets worn, showing the natural yellow color of the dentin underneath. Also, as we get older, the tooth lays down more dentin, causing a darker appearance.
Genetics – Some people are born with good teeth and others just aren’t as lucky.
Fluoride Excessive fluoride from over- use of fluoride rinses, toothpastes and supplements can cause tooth discoloration, as well as high levels of fluoride in the water
Discoloration caused by internal causes are not usually as easily and quickly treated as external, but there are still options and a good outcome for success.
Once Dr. Lohmann identifies the cause of the tooth discoloration, he can go over your options and anticipated results.