Yellowed teeth, eroded enamel, dark and discolored canines. Call it what you like, but a dull smile by any name is never a good thing. Yet millions of Americans nationwide suffer from spotted and stained teeth that can detract from one’s appearance, inhibit self-confidence, and even affect success and opportunity on the job. Luckily, there are a variety of affordable and effective treatments available today that can treat and restore almost any stained smile. Recent technological and medical advancements have made achieving a picture perfect, white bright smile an option for nearly anyone.
The first step towards treating a lackluster smile? Knowing the root causes of dull and yellowed teeth. By being able to identify the factors that cause discoloration, you can prevent stains before they start.
Food & Drink
As a general rule of thumb, it can be assumed that any food or beverage capable of staining your clothes or skin can similarly affect the color of your teeth. The biggest offenders are, of course, coffees and teas, dark colas, red wines, and dark berries. However, the list of highly staining foods and drinks also includes white wines and certain unassuming fruits and vegetables, such as apples, potatoes, tomatoes, and citruses.
Smoking and chewing tobacco not only causes cancer, lung disease, COPD, respiratory disease, emphysema, and nearly every other medical malady possible, but it also causes advanced yellowing of the teeth. The longer you use, whether it’s in the form of cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless tobacco, the darker and deeper the stains on your teeth will appear. It’s one more reason to stop smoking and yet another reason not to start in the first place.
Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications have come a long way in helping alleviate symptoms and provide quality treatment for a variety of medical conditions and afflictions. However, even with today’s top-notch advancements in drug treatment therapies, many medications still have unwanted side effects, one of which can be the yellowing of teeth. In particular, the antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline have been proven to discolor teeth when given to children under the age of eight. In addition, certain oral rinses and washes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride can stain teeth, as can antihistamines (such as Benadryl), antipsychotic drugs, and drugs that are administered to treat high blood pressure.
Sometimes discolored teeth aren’t merely the product of an easy-to-fix habit but rather the symptom of a larger, more serious medical issue. Numerous ailments, diseases, and conditions can often express themselves physically in the form of darkened and dull tooth enamel and dentin. Some of the most noted include liver disease, sickle cell disease, eating disorders, metabolic abnormalities, rickets, and celiac disease. Pregnancy can also affect the color of soon-to-be mothers’ teeth as the frequent vomiting associated with morning sickness has been proven to erode enamel.