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510 N. Washington St, Suite 301, Falls Church, VA 22046

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Reasons and Remedies for Tooth Discoloration

If you’re smiling less because you have discolored or stained teeth that you’re ashamed of, then discover the tips and techniques that can whiten your teeth and have you smiling again.

Are Stained and Discolored Teeth Inevitable?

Stained and discolored teeth aren’t inevitable facets of life. Some of the causes of discoloration can be avoided, and some can’t. Aging is inevitable and can cause discolored teeth. Trauma, genetics, and the need for some medications may cause discolored teeth, all of which are generally unavoidable. However, some of the causes of staining and discoloration are avoidable, and addressing them can provide you with a whiter, brighter smile. Foods, beverages, and tobacco are common causes of tooth discoloration, and those factors can be controlled.

Is My Diet Causing Tooth Discoloration?

Your favorite foods and beverages may provide great satisfaction, but they may also be contributing to your dull and discolored teeth. Any of the following may contribute to less-than-white teeth:

  • Carbohydrate-laden foods: Many of us enjoy white bread and pastries, white potatoes, white rice, pasta, and cereal, but they are laden with carbohydrates that readily convert to sugar, which is the enemy of your teeth as well as your waistline. Sugar depletes your tooth enamel, which causes your teeth to appear dingy and discolored.
  • Dark-colored foods and beverages: Beverages like tea, coffee, red wine, dark ales, and dark beer can discolor your teeth. Foods like beets can also contribute to discoloration and stains on your teeth.
  • Sugary snacks: Gum and candy are two popular snacks, but they’re laden with sugar that can contribute to the loss of your white tooth enamel.
  • Sugary beverages: Drinks likes fruit juice, sodas, and sports drinks are high in sugar and acids that can erode your tooth enamel and make your teeth appear dingy and discolored.

Are There Foods That Can Prevent Discolored Teeth?

Eating and drinking the proper types of food can contribute to whiter, brighter teeth, just as consuming the wrong types of substances can cause dingy teeth. If you want whiter, brighter teeth, then make the following substances a part of your daily consumption:

  • Water: One of the most important elements of your diet, plain water keeps you hydrated while it contributes to your overall physical health and your good oral health. It quenches your thirst, it washes out the remaining acids and sugars from the foods you eat, and it eliminates food particles that remain after you eat. Those food particles can cause decay and gingivitis to form, so drinking ample amounts of water can keep you healthy in several ways.
  • Artificially-sweetened beverages: If plain water just doesn’t go down, then unsugared beverages are better than no liquid at all. They’ll rinse away the acids and sugars and food particles the same as water. However, these beverages may also leave a residue, so be sure to rinse well with plain water after drinking them.
  • Dairy products: For those who have no physiological aversion to dairy products, they can help in your fight to maintain white teeth. The protein and calcium in them strengthen your teeth and prevent erosion of the tooth enamel.
  • Flax seeds and fish: Both of these foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are potent anti-inflammatory agents. When your inflammation is lessened, you’ll be less likely to develop periodontal disease. Be sure to balance out the omega-3 oils with the omega-6 oils, though.
  • Cocoa: Although it may seem counterintuitive to associate cocoa with dental health, cocoa is another potent antioxidant. It can protect you from dental caries as well as the erosion of your tooth enamel. The darker the cocoa, the better. Milk chocolate, white chocolate, and Hershey’s syrup aren’t included in this category because the higher the sugar content, the lower the benefit.

Will Smoking Always Discolor My Teeth?

Dentists and doctors agree that if you smoke, you’ll get discolored teeth. The deleterious effects of smoking are the leading cause of lung cancer, and they’re also one of the main reasons for developing periodontal disease. If you smoke, your teeth will never be as white as they will if you don’t smoke.

Do All Forms of Tobacco Cause Tooth Discoloration?

It doesn’t matter the type of tobacco you use; all types will discolor your teeth. However, many people aren’t willing to stop smoking, so they’ll need other methods for getting whiter teeth.

Can I Continue to Smoke But Still Have Whiter Teeth?

If you continue to smoke, there are methods by which your teeth can be somewhat whiter, such as:

  • Brush and floss at least twice daily, and use an antibacterial mouthwash at least once daily.
  • Brush after you eat a meal or snack and after you smoke. This will remove the residue that stains your teeth.
  • Get a professional dental cleaning twice yearly at a minimum.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Well-balanced meals and snacks will contribute to your overall health and will keep your teeth and tooth enamel as healthy as possible.
  • No matter how dedicated you are, if you smoke, your teeth will not be as white as if you don’t smoke.

Is There Anything That Will Help Prevent Tooth Discoloration?

There are over-the-counter products that can help you achieve whiter teeth even if you smoke. However, tooth discoloration may return even after using these products; it’s a side-effect of the tar and nicotine in the cigarettes. Ask your dentist for a recommendation on the following:

  • Whitening toothpastes, whether prescription or over-the-counter products
  • Over-the-counter whitening kits
  • Professional tooth whitening treatments
  • An at-home whitening kit from your dentist

Tooth whitening, whether by a dentist or at home, can increase the sensitivity in your teeth, but you’ll have whiter teeth. The at-home kits may provide uneven color, particularly if you have dental work such as caps or crowns. When your dentist provides the whitening treatment, they monitor it to ensure that you have evenly colored teeth, so that may be a better choice.

What Habits Will Prevent Tooth Discoloration?

If you want to have whiter, brighter teeth, then quit smoking. Either way, use the following procedures to help you achieve your whitest smile possible:

  • Brush after every snack or meal and after every smoking session
  • Rinse your mouth well with plain water after drinking dark-colored beverages
  • Get needed dental treatment as soon as possible
  • Maintain good oral hygiene as laid out by the American Dental Association
  • Get professional cleanings at least twice yearly

If You’re Still Not Smiling…

Don’t hide your smile because your teeth aren’t movie-star white. Many options are available to you, such as:

  • Professional tooth whitening, which is the fastest and best option
  • Over-the-counter products like toothpaste or mouthwash
  • At-home whitening kits
  • Dental veneers or crowns

Your dentist can provide you with a variety of options for getting your teeth as white as possible. Bear in mind that it may not be a permanent solution, however, depending on your lifestyle.

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