Teeth Discolorization : Common Causes & Remedies


Tooth staining is usually a common problem. Everybody’s teeth stain gradually over time. If dental enamel became more porous it attracts stains from all the food and drinks you consume. And those who regularly smoke and drink red wine or coffee for them the stain become deeper.

Other than eating and smoking habit there are some other factors which can cause and aggravate tooth staining, including age, starting color, translucency and thinness, drugs and chemicals, grinding, and trauma.

Co-relation Between Ageing & Teeth Staining: 

A direct correlation exists between tooth color and age. Usually, the older the teeth the more the teeth are stained due to accumulation and general wear and tear. Teenagers will likely experience immediate, drastic results from whitening because their teeth have not accumulated a large build up of stains. In the twenties when the teeth begin to show a yellow cast, teeth-whitening may require slightly more effort. Teeth in their forties begin to change hues from yellow to brown, indicating more maintenance in teeth-whitening efforts. By the fifties, the teeth have absorbed a host of stubborn stains which can prove difficult, but not impossible, to remove.

The starting color of teeth varies from person to person and ranges from yellow-brownish to greenish-grey and becomes more pronounced as we age. Yellow-brown is generally more responsive to bleaching efforts than green-gray.

The genetic traits of translucency and thinness become more apparent over time. While all teeth show some translucency, those that are opaque and thick have an advantage: they appear lighter in color, show more sparkle and are more responsive to bleaching. However, teeth that are thinner and more transparent (most apparent in the front teeth) may not be able to be bleached as the teeth lack the necessary pigment. According to cosmetic dentists, transparency is the only condition that cannot be corrected by any form of teeth whitening.

Some Causes of Teeth Discoloration:

  • Eating habits are a contributing factor in tooth staining. The habitual consumption of red wine, coffee, tea, cola, carrots, oranges, and other deeply-colored beverages and foods causes considerable staining over the years. Enamel erosion is caused, in part, by consuming citrus fruits, vinegar, and other acidic items. When combined, these two factors cause the surface of the tooth to become more transparent and more of the yellow colored dentin shows through.
  • Smoking habits can alter the color of teeth. Smoking has been proven to leave brownish deposits which slowly soak into the tooth structure and cause intrinsic discoloration.
  • Drugs and chemicals can have an adverse effect on tooth color. The antibiotic tetracycline when used during a child’s formative years, produces dark grey or brown ribbon stains which are extremely difficult to remove. Excessive consumption of fluoride causes a condition known as fluorosis which is associated with areas of mottling.
  • Grinding your teeth can affect tooth color. Most frequently caused by stress, teeth grinding can add to micro-cracking in the teeth and can cause the biting edges to darken.

Prevention & Treatment:

Coffee, tea, colas, smoke, acidic juices, certain medications, and highly pigmented foods play havoc on the pearly whites. Tooth staining can be prevented with proper oral hygiene. Treatment like Sealing or bonding may be used to protect teeth from wear and tear. But these procedures are permanent or semi-permanent.

There are certain natural ways for teeth whitening which can be followed at home. Not all tooth discolorations respond to whitening treatments, however.

There also remain many over-the-counter products can eliminate tooth discoloration. A person will usually see results after 1–2 weeks, though there is no guarantee.

Some of the over the counter product includes:

  • whitening mouthwashes and rinses containing hydrogen peroxide
  • whitening toothpastes containing sodium hypochlorite
  • whitening strips containing carbamide peroxide
  • tray whitening systems containing carbamide peroxide bleaching gel

There are several natural remedies and teeth whitening products available. However, the treatment provided by a dentist is much stronger compared to any natural home remedies. But to prevent your teeth from staining follow a consistent oral health routine which includes twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing, a twice-yearly visit to a dentist near you, restraining from smoking and limiting your consumption of teeth-staining beverages.

Teeth Whitening Essentials in 2019


Teeth whitening is one of the most sought after dental procedures to either regain one’s natural tooth shade or to make it more white beyond its natural shades. Apart from treatment, foods that might cause stains in tooth should be avoided to get pearly white teeth. Let us check out the to-dos that you can adhere to in order to get as well as maintain a whiter teeth:

  • Give up addiction to smoking and consumption of other tobacco products
  • Consumption of foods containing tannin such as tea, coffee etc. should be avoided
  • Using other staining foods like beets, tomato sauce, candies, dark chocolates etc. are strictly prohibited if you want to maintain the shine of your teeth.
  • Excess use of antibiotics might affect the dental health too.

However, there are times when you only wish that you had put yourself into a better oral care routine in your childhood days or teenage years. You immediately start off brushing and flossing regularly but without much result! It is now when you are bound to resort to teeth whitening techniques either at home or at your dentist’s office.

Which Teeth Whitening Process to go for?

Before getting into the techniques, you must be able to decide between an at-home whitening procedure and the one that is carried out by professionals in an office set up! Below are listed the basic differences between the two:

Usually an in-office treatment is far more recommended than the at-home procedure that uses the easily available, less effective OTC (over-the-counter) products. The reasons for this recommendation are as follows –

Same Day Results: In the in-office treatment, it is possible to achieve 5 to 8 shades whiter teeth on that very day of your treatment! At home kits on the other hand, need to be used again and again over a much longer period of time.

Sensitivity: The at-home whitening kits, especially if not used properly, may cause sensitivity issues. Moreover, these products cannot come in contact with your gums. If they do, they may cause redness as well as irritation. These details are difficult to be kept in mind, while you are
using the kit at home.

Longevity of Results: Whitening treatments that are performed in dental offices, use the rightly required proportion of hydrogen peroxide (the bleaching agent) under the supervision of professional dental experts. Therefore, they have proven to yield results that last much more
longer than the at-home kits!

How is the Teeth Whitening Process Pursued?

Dentists in their offices use chemicals that reacts in between the layers of teeth where stains generally occur.Hydrogen peroxide is the chemical usually used at dental offices to give you those dazzling white teeth. This is an active material which reacts and causes oxidation and helps breaking the stained compounds.

Dentists generally deject the use of teeth whitening toothpastes available over-the-counter (OTC) because it may destroy teeth sensitivity. Prolonged use of OTC products might make your teeth sensitive to too hot or too cold foods causing a tingling sensation every time you sip in a cup of coffee or a glass of cold drink!

Teeth whitening is somewhat controversial because, different countries have different rules regarding the permitted concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. A 35 per cent hydrogen peroxide concentration, can effectively permeate deep into the enamel structure. Weaker concentrations act only at the surface of the tooth enamel and not the inner layers!

While hydrogen peroxide is mostly the active ingredient in most whitening products, some teeth-whitening gels contain carbamide peroxide or sodium perborate too.Both of these agents break down to release hydrogen peroxide. Therefore hydrogen peroxide is the most popularly used teeth whitening agent across dental offices.

Facts to Know About A Whitening Process

  1.   1. Before you go for a whitening process, get your mouth health checked up to ensure that it’s healthy enough to go through the procedure.
  2. It’s common for teeth-whitening products to cause sensitivity. However this is temporary and therefore this should not hinder you from going for it.
  3. One limitation of any type of whitening treatment is the dental restorations. Tooth-coloured fillings, veneers and crowns (caps), dentures, etc. won’t change colour, as whitening only has effect on natural teeth. This can then result in a mismatch between the teeth. and
  4. Treatment by dentists typically costs more, but comes with more effective results for patients.

Since dentists are permitted to use stronger products than the OTC ones , they are more likely to understand what result is achievable with each type of whitening (office-based or home) and can therefore always deliver you with more satisfactory results as compared to what you could achieve for yourself at home!