Top Tips to Reduce Tooth Staining
Why have my teeth changed colour?
Tooth discolouration is the natural accumulation of stains on the tooth’s external surface or changes within the inside of the tooth.
Extrinsic Discolouration: Extrinsic tooth staining is the term used when the outer layer of the tooth (enamel) is discoloured. Many things such as food, drink and smoking can all cause extrinsic staining.
Intrinsic Discolouration: Intrinsic tooth staining occurs when the inner structure of the tooth (known as dentin) darkens or becomes a pale shade of yellow. This occurs due to a number of reasons that includes exposure to too much fluoride as a child, trauma that affected the tooth as a child, e.g. a fall or on rare occasion people may be born with a condition that can cause grey or purple discolouration.
Dentin naturally becomes yellow over a period of time and, as the protective enamel gets thinner with age, the dentin begins to show through. You may have noticed colour changes in your own teeth.
There are various ways in which you can prevent the staining of your teeth. Top tips to reduce tooth staining include:
- Brush your teeth after every meal
- Rinse your mouth with water when you have consumed wine, cola coffee or any other food or drinks that may stain your teeth
- Visit your hygienist for regular cleaning to remove any surface staining
- Intrinsic staining may need to be treated using root canal therapy as this will remove the inner part of the tooth before it has chance to darken or decay. However, root treated teeth may darken anyway.
- Avoid too much early exposure to fluoride, once the enamel is formed the tooth will not discolour.
No special tests are used in the diagnosis of tooth discolouration – your dentist or hygienist will be able to diagnose discolouration by simply examining your teeth.
Treatment for tooth staining consists of regular professional cleans with home care alongside – this includes brushing, interdental cleaning and rinsing after food and drink.
Whitening toothpaste will improve the look of minor staining but professional teeth whitening should be carried out by a dentist, as it uses a high concentration of bleach to brighten the tooth enamel. Intrinsic staining can be treated using an internal tooth bleaching material however this will also need to be carried out by a qualified professional.
Having a teeth whitening treatment can make you look healthier and younger! At Centre for Dentistry, there are two options: In Practice whitening (application by the dentist) or Home Whitening. In Practice whitening costs a little more but guarantees an excellent level of whiteness (known in the industry as a B1 shade). If you ask in one of our practices, they can show you a colour shade sample and explain where you sit on the scale. Teeth whitening is generally suitable and safe for everyone and will not harm your teeth.
An airflow polish is a simple hygiene treatment that effectively removes stains on the front and back of teeth. It’s faster, easier and less invasive than alternative methods of deep teeth cleaning. Airflow is perfect if you are after a brighter smile. Though it can’t improve the base colour of your teeth, our customers notice a definite difference after their treatment and nothing beats that lovely clean feeling!
When to Speak to a Dentist
Most stains and discolouration are a cosmetic issue therefore you only need to consult a dentist if you’re unhappy with the appearance of your teeth. Extrinsic stains on the outside of your teeth are easily treated but intrinsic stains may take a little more time to improve. However, any changes to a child’s normal tooth colour should be examined by a dentist.