WE ALL WANT CLEAN, STRAIGHT, BEAUTIFUL teeth so that our smiles will be the talk of the town. Unfortunately, stains can occasionally stand in the way of this objective, and they occur in a variety of forms. Let’s examine some of the most common tooth stains and their causes.
Sometimes white spots can appear on the surface of perfectly healthy teeth. This phenomenon is called fluorosis, and it occurs when developing adult teeth get exposed to too much fluoride. They aren’t damaged by it, but they do become unevenly bleached. To prevent fluorosis, make sure to limit the amount of fluoride toothpaste you use when brushing your child’s teeth. No more than a tiny smear for babies and toddlers is enough, and keep it to a pea-sized dab for young children.
Not all white spots are as harmless as the ones caused by fluorosis. They can also come from demineralization, which is the gradual leaching of crucial minerals (like calcium) from the tooth enamel, leaving it weaker. How does demineralization happen? From exposure to acid and the buildup of plaque over time. People with braces are particularly susceptible, which is why it’s so crucial to maintain good brushing and flossing habits while the braces are on.
Another type of stain is the kind caused by what we eat and drink. Pigments, acid, and other natural and artificial chemicals in food and drink can lead to stains on our teeth if we aren’t careful. Major culprits include wine, coffee, black tea, cola, sports drinks, hard candy, berries, and even tomato sauce.
You won’t end up with stained teeth after a single serving of one of these items, but they can gradually cling to the enamel and wear it away, resulting in unsightly stains over time. We recommend consuming these things in moderation, rinsing with water afterward, and brushing and flossing twice a day to keep the stains at bay. Good oral health habits are a great preventative measure for demineralization too.
Intrinsic Tooth Discoloration
Not all stains happen on the outside of the tooth. Intrinsic tooth discoloration is what happens when the dentin beneath the enamel gets darker. This could be the result of trauma to the tooth from an injury. Certain medications can also cause intrinsic tooth discoloration, as can a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta. External whitening treatments won’t do anything about these kinds of stains.
Let’s Fight Those Stains
A strict dental hygiene regimen, as we discussed before, is the best defense against many different sorts of dental stains. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and spend two full minutes flossing each time you brush. Also, remember to get a professional cleaning at the dentist twice a year! The greatest method to identify emerging issues in their early stages is to schedule these regular appointments.