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Tooth color varies from person to person, and the secondary teeth are usually darker than the primary teeth. Teeth also normally darken slightly with age. However, abnormal discoloration may occur because of changes in the teeth.
What are the causes?
There are several causes why teeth discolor and they are :
*Plaque.A common cause of discoloration is the buildup of dental plaque on the surface of the teeth. Plaque-stained teeth are often yellowish brown, but childrenâ€™s teeth may be black or green. drinking tea and coffee and chewing or smoking tobacco may also stain the surface of the teeth, as may some liquid medicines that contain iron.
*Foods/drinks. Coffee, tea, colas, wines, and certain fruits and vegetables (for example, apples and potatoes) can stain your teeth.
*Tobacco use. Smoking or chewing tobacco can stain teeth.
*Poor dental hygiene. Inadequate brushing and flossing to remove plaque and stain-producing substances like coffee and tobacco can cause tooth discoloration.
*Disease. Several diseases that affect enamel (the hard surface of the teeth) and dentin (the underlying material under enamel) can lead to tooth discoloration. In addition, treatments for certain conditions can also affect tooth color. For example, head and neck radiation and chemotherapy can cause teeth discoloration. In addition, certain infections in pregnant mothers can cause tooth discoloration in the infant by affecting enamel development.
*Medications. The antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline are known to discolor teeth when given to children whose teeth are still developing (before the age of 8). Mouth rinses and washes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride can also stain your teeth. Antihistamines (like Benadryl), antipsychotic drugs, and antihypertensive medications can also cause teeth discoloration.
The teeth may also become discolored if children are given certain drugs while their secondary teeth are developing. For example, if tetracycline is given to babies or children under age q0, it may cause a yellow discoloration of the secondary teeth. If the drug is given to a pregnant woman, her babyâ€™s primary teeth may be discolored when they emerge.
A tooth may become darker than normal following irreversible pulpitis, when the soft center, or the pulp, of the tooth dies. Root canal treatment may cause a tooth to darken if the material used to fill the tooth is dark in color.
*Dental materials. Some of the materials used in dentistry, such as amalgam restorations , especially silver sulfide-containing materials, can cast a gray-black color to your teeth.
*Advancing age. As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth gets worn away revealing the natural yellow color of dentin.
*Genetics. Some people have naturally brighter or thicker enamel than others.
*Environment. Excessive fluoride either from environmental sources (naturally high fluoride levels in water) or from excessive use (fluoride applications, rinses, toothpaste, and fluoride supplements taken by mouth) can cause teeth discoloration.
*Trauma. For example, damage from a fall can disturb enamel formation in young children whose teeth are still developing. Trauma can also cause discoloration to adult teeth.
*Fluorosis, in which the teeth develop a mottled color, is due to an excess of natural fluoride in the water in some parts of the world. however, where fluoride is added to the water to reduce tooth decay, the concentration is too low to cause fluorosis. fluorosis may also develop if children are given too high a dose of fluoride drops or pills.
How Can you Prevent Teeth Discoloration?
Staining on the surface of the teeth is routinely removed by scaling and polishing of teeth by your dentist or oral hygienist. If staining is severe, the teeth can be bleached. If a single tooth is discolored as a result of a condition such as pulpitis or following root canal treatment, a porcelain or plastic veneer may be bonded to the front of the tooth, or the top of the tooth can be replaced by a crown.
Most discoloration of teeth can be prevented by brushing and flossing the teeth and gums regularly.
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, make an appointment to see your dentist.
What Treatment Options Are Available to Whiten Teeth?
Treatment options can vary depending on the cause of the discoloration and may include.
*Using proper tooth brushing and flossing techniques
*Avoidance of the foods and beverages that cause stains
*Using over-the-counter whitening agents
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