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Houston Dentist - Dr. Kirk Speck D.D.S.

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Home arrow Dentist Articles arrow What Causes Tooth Discoloration?
What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

Tooth discoloration can be of two main types: extrinsic (caused by substances we introduce into our mouths) and intrinsic, (caused by conditions in the body which influence tooth formation or color).
Predisposition to tooth discoloration

Some factors make tooth discoloration more likely for some people, both children and adults:

· Tiny enamel defects – that allow staining substances to accumulate.

· Insufficient saliva, – which normally helps us clear food remains and early plaque.
Saliva output can be decreased by an infection or obstruction in the mouth, by some diseases, by radiation to the head and neck, and by many medications.
· Poor dental hygiene – which is a voluntary factor, allowing food particles to linger, plaque to build up, and tartar to form, all of which creates brown or black stains.
Extrinsic discoloration

There are many things we put in our mouths which slowly discolor our teeth.

· Coffee, tea, red wine, and soda drinks

· Tobacco, whether smoked or chewed

· Some medications, notably tetracycline and doxycycline when they’re given to children under eight, and antihistamines such as Benadryl

Intrinsic discoloration

Any trauma to a child’s growing teeth can disrupt the formation of enamel and cause it to have uneven thickness. Dentin, the layer beneath enamel, is a yellow color, and if the enamel is thin, dentin can show through, looking like a stain.
· Some infections in a pregnant mother can affect the development of the child’s tooth enamel

Too much fluoride in childhood causes fluorosis:

· Fluoride supplements

· Chewable vitamins which contain fluoride

· Store-bought beverages

· Fluoride in the water supply

· Fluoride-containing rinses, toothpastes etc.

· Foods prepared with fluoridated water

In mild fluorosis flat white lines appear on the enamel. In moderate fluorosis, the lines become mottling, and in severe fluorosis the mottling becomes extensive; it stains and chips easily and becomes pitted and brown
Nutritional deficiencies
For growth of healthy teeth, we need calcium, vitamins C and D, and phosphate. If any of these are lacking in the diet, our tooth enamel becomes thinner and weaker.
Our teeth darken as we age, and this is normal.
Tooth whitening
Although there are some exceptions, most stains on our teeth, and most yellowing can be removed by a tooth whitening procedure. These can be done in-office or at home using customized trays and professional-strength whitening gel.
Dental work
Some dental materials, especially the amalgam used for fillings, can darken the color of the tooth by showing through the translucent enamel, and over time can darken the enamel itself.