The Dark Side Of Teeth

There are many reasons why teeth can stain or discolour including:

    • Dark drinks and food– such as coffee, tea, red wine, fruit juice, pop and pigmented foods such as cherries, cranberries, carrots, soy sauce and beets
    • Hot drinks – constant temperature change can cause small fractures on the tooth surface allowing stains to penetrate
    • Cigarettes – can cause yellowish to orange stains

  • Poor oral hygiene – plaque that is not removed can turn yellow
  • Medicine – some antibiotics and over-the-counter medications – eg. Tetracycline, some antihistamines
  • Age – enamel can break down over time allowing the underlying dentin, which has a natural yellow or brown colour, to show through
  • Genetics – some people naturally have brighter or thicker enamel then others
  • Trauma – if the tooth pulp (nerve) is damaged or dies
  • Excessive fluoride – high doses of fluoride may result in white spots

Here are some recommended prevention techniques and solutions:

  • Swish your mouth with water after consuming dark drinks
  • Use a straw if possible with dark drinks which may protect the front teeth
  • Brush teeth immediately after eating foods that can stain (except with acidic foods, then simply swish with water)
  • Engage in proper oral healthcare at home:
    • Brushing and flossing at least twice a day
    • Brushing for one to three minutes
    • Use an appropriate amount of toothpaste
  • Visit the hygienist regularly – many stains can be removed with a effective cleaning and polishing
  • Talk to your dentist and doctor about alternatives to stain-producing medication
  • Bleaching – take-home and in-office treatments are highly effective in whitening your teeth*
  • Bonding – a tooth-colored resin material (a durable plastic material) is applied and hardened with a special light, which ultimately “bonds” the material to the tooth
  • Veneers – thin shells of porcelain that are custom fit over your natural teeth