After leaving the Italian restaurant, you start heading home, thinking of your soft, comfortable bed. After arriving home, you walk into your bathroom and start getting ready for bed. You put toothpaste on your brush and start reaching for your mouth, but then you stop short. You notice some discoloration on the surface of your teeth. “How did that get there?” You wonder.
When drinking certain beverages, your teeth can absorb stains that remain hours after you finish consuming them. Furthermore, certain conditions can also change the appearance of your smile. If you’re wondering how his happens, your cosmetic dentist in Boulder is ready to make it clear before your next appointment.
Why Do Teeth Stain?
At first glance, teeth may appear to be solid and smooth, especially when you rob your finger against them. However, teeth are actually very porous, which means they contain a lot of holes and crevices for liquid to seep into. When you consume foods that either have a strong pigmentation and/or acidic attributes, your teeth can easily absorb them and become stained.
There are two main types of stains: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains occur on the outer layer of tooth and are usually caused by drinks you consume on a regular basis. Intrinsic stains refer to the dentin showing your enamel’s translucent layer. Tooth stains are quite common and can occur in many ways.
What Foods and Conditions Cause Stains?
As mentioned previously, extrinsic stains occur from the foods you eat that carry strong pigmentations. This includes red wines, coffee, tea, and dark berries. Soda also wears down your enamel, leaving it more porous and prone to staining. If you smoke, your teeth will start to discolor as tobacco can significantly yellow your teeth.
Furthermore, certain conditions can also cause blemishes on the surface of your teeth. This includes:
- Fluorosis – A chronic condition caused by excessive fluoride exposure while teeth are still forming. These are classified as white spots on the surface of your enamel and won’t be noticeable until teeth have fully grown in. To prevent this, monitor your child’s fluoride intake.
- Enamel Hypoplasia – Hypoplasia means underdevelopment of a specific tissue or organ. In this case, it refers to tooth enamel not developing fully enough, causing a hard but thin tooth enamel. While it can occur before birth, it can also occur from overexposure to fluoride.
Now that you understand the cause of staining, we’ll learn the best way to prevent stains in the future.
How Do I Prevent and Remove Future Stains?
Most extrinsic stains can be removed with basic home care and professional cleanings. Dentists recommend that you rinse your mouth out after drinking liquids prone to staining and visit your dentist for regular dental cleanings. Try using a toothpaste designed to whiten teeth and remove these stains.
There are also teeth-whitening treatments that are ideal for removing deep stains and making your teeth many shades whiter. This be done in short bursts with your dentist in Boulder or with take-home whitening kits used over several weeks.
To learn more about stain prevention, schedule an appointment with your dentist today!
About the Author
Dr. Terry Batliner earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado and his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Dental School at the University of Iowa. He also trained at the Royal Dental College of Denmark and earned his MBA from the University of Iowa. To learn more about his practice, contact him at (303) 442-4555 or visit his website.