1. Extrinsic discoloration This occurs when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained. Coffee, wine, cola or other drinks or foods can stain teeth. Smoking also causes extrinsic stains.
2. Intrinsic discoloration This is when the inner structure of the tooth (the dentin) darkens or gets a yellow tint. You can get this type of discoloration if:
a. You had excessive exposure to fluoride during early childhood
b. Your mother used tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy
c. You used tetracycline antibiotics when you were 8 years old or younger.
Causes of Discolored Teeth
Teeth become discolored for different reasons:
a. Drinking coffee, tea, or colas.
b. Some antibiotics may darken developing teeth in children.
c. Aging - The dentin underneath the enamel of a tooth gradually darkens with age.
d. Use of tobacco products.
e. Accidents - If a tooth has been traumatized, sometimes the nerve will gradually 'die', and the tooth becomes dark.
f. After Root Canal Therapy, a tooth will generally darken.
Symptoms of Discolored Teeth
Symptoms include stains on the enamel. They can range from white streaks to yellow tints or brown spots and pits. If the enamel has worn away, and dentin is showing through, you may notice a yellow tint in the dentin.
How Can I Prevent Teeth Discoloration?
By making a few simple lifestyle changes, you may be able to prevent teeth discoloration. For example, if you are a coffee drinker and/or smoker, consider cutting back or quitting all together. Also, improve your dental hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly and getting your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist every 6 months.
If your teeth appear to be an abnormal color without ready explanation, the abnormal tooth color lasts despite following good oral hygiene practices, and if other symptoms are also present, makes an appointment to see your dentist.
Home Remedies to Avoid Discolored Teeth
a. A number of fruits have bleaching properties and can help remove teeth discoloration. Include fruits like strawberries, lemon and oranges in your diet.
b. Mouthwash proves beneficial in removing teeth discoloration. After having meals, make sure to rinse your mouth with a mouthwash. It does not let the stains accumulate.
c. Include lots of vegetables, like cucumbers, broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes, in your diet. They help dissolve the molecules that cause deep stains.
d. You should brush the teeth regularly, at least two times in a day, to avoid discoloration of teeth.
e. Rubbing the teeth with salt has been found to be effective in treating discoloration of teeth.
f. After brushing your teeth, use a floss to clean the inner parts. This would help remove the food particles stuck therein, thereby curing teeth discoloration.
g. Chewing sugarless gum right after meals is effective in treating discoloration of teeth.
h. Avoid foods and beverages that leave a stain on the teeth. They would add to the discoloration problem.