When you were younger, your teeth were whiter than white. As you've aged, you've noticed that your teeth don't look as white as they used to, but they still seem healthy. Now, though, you've noticed that your teeth have become discoloured.
In fact, your teeth have rings of orange or yellow on them, or you see grey or brown patches on each tooth's surface. You don't like this discolouration, but you wonder how it happened in the first place. What causes teeth to discolour, and how can you treat it?
Below, we answer these questions so you understand why your teeth don't look white now and what you can do to have a bright smile again.
Ways Teeth Discolour
No matter what colour your teeth are, the discolouration may have happened in a few different ways.
As previously mentioned, your teeth can age as you get older. Over time, the enamel, or protective coating, over your teeth wears down. Without that covering, the rest of your tooth is more susceptible to discolouring. And, as you continue to age, you teeth will continue turning yellow.
Food and Drink
You may love to start your morning with a hot cup of coffee, or perhaps you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. You may also frequently consume foods like oranges, berries or tomatoes.
But have you thought about what those foods and drinks do to your teeth?
Beverages like citrus juice, coffee, wine and soda can strip the enamel off your teeth over time. Once that enamel is gone, the rest of your teeth can easily stain as you keep drinking these beverages. Foods like tomato sauces, berries and curries can also have a similar staining effect.
Many medical studies have shown how bad smoking is for your general health. More still have shown that smoking and using other tobacco products has a negative effect on your smile.
In a short period of time, smoking or using tobacco causes your teeth to take on yellow or grey stains. The longer you use tobacco or smoke, the darker the stains become. These stains result from the close and consistent exposure to the tar and nicotine in tobacco products.
Poor Dental Care
When you were a child, your parents helped you brush your teeth, and they likely taught you good oral care habits. But as you've gotten older, you may have become a little lax in those routines. The less you floss and brush your teeth, the more plaque will build up on and in between your teeth.
As the plaque accumulates on your teeth, the more visible it becomes. It may even discolour as you consume staining foods and beverages. As a result, your teeth may appear yellow, orange or brown.
Ways You Can Treat the Issue
Your teeth will always be susceptible to discolouration, but you don't have to live with a stained smile. Instead, you can do a few things to brighten your teeth.
Take Good Care of Your Teeth
If you don't brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly, start now. As you maintain good oral hygiene, you can reduce and eliminate plaque build-up on your teeth. If you have less plaque on your teeth, you can better prevent discolouration.
Adjust Your Diet and Tobacco Use
While all foods and drinks are good in moderation, to whiten your smile you'll need to limit your consumption of certain foods. If you do choose to drink coffee or wine or eat berries or tomato sauces, simply rinse your mouth out with water afterwards. The water clears away the acids and food particles that can cause staining, reducing your chances for discoloured teeth.
Likewise, stop using tobacco if you want to prevent your teeth from staining.
Visit Your Dentist for Professional Teeth Whitening
While at-home methods can reduce the amount of staining on your teeth, your dentist has more reliable ways of whitening teeth. If your teeth are discoloured and you want a whiter, brighter smile, visit your dental professional at Cambridge City Dental and schedule a teeth whitening treatment.