Why Do Teeth Stain and What Causes Teeth Staining?

Extrinsic and Intrinsic Factors to Watch Out

Why do teeth stain? Firstly, know where teeth get their coloration. Then know the factors that contribute to why teeth stain or discolor or darken with time.

Teeth are made up mainly of calcium and phosphate which are minerals that render your teeth extremely hard. The enamel is the outer layer of teeth that has a natural whitish hue. However, you can have other minerals in teeth that add shades of gray and yellow. Beneath the enamel is the teeth’s second layer – the dentin – which is yellow in color.

Aging is one of the factors that contribute to tooth color. As one ages the outer enamel of teeth can erode or become thinner. This process gradually allows the yellow dentin to show through. The dentine layer also increases in size as one ages, making the middle part – the pulp – to decrease in size. Now teeth can look somewhat darker as the translucency of teeth is reduced.

Extrinsic or outside factors also cause stains or discoloration of teeth. A particular lifestyle can stain your teeth yellow, especially if you are a smoker or if you chew tobacco. Your choice of certain drinks like coffee, tea, colas, and red wine can cause yellowish to brownish discoloration if taken beyond moderation and without proper oral care. Certain dark-colored fruits like blueberries may also cause staining.

Another external factor to consider is poor dental hygiene. Not brushing and flossing your teeth properly and regularly can cause a buildup of plaque which may cause seemingly discolored teeth.

Intrinsic or internal factors can also cause teeth to darken. The dentin within can be especially affected. Certain medications can discolor teeth. For example, meds for high blood pressure, antipsychotic drugs, antihistamines, and some drugs for chemotherapy can cause stains. Trauma or injury to a tooth, and tooth decay can cause the tooth to darken. Excessive use of fluoride is also contributory. It can lead to fluorosis that manifests as white patches on the tooth surface and a mottled enamel.


Keeping Your Smiles Bright In Bellevue

Know more about teeth staining and discoloration from your Bellevue dentist. Learn from us what to avoid and good habits to pick up to maintain your pearly whites.