Tooth discoloration occurs to many dental patients and has a number of causes. While it is largely considered to be a cosmetic issue, teeth that are beginning to turn yellow could be a sign of a more serious dental issue developing, and should be evaluated and treated as soon as possible in order to prevent any tooth damage from occurring.
What causes tooth discoloration?
There are a number of things that can cause your teeth to yellow or become otherwise discolored. These include:
- Diet – certain fruits and vegetables can stain your teeth, as can soda, coffee, tea, wine and fruit juice.
- Tobacco use – smoking and chewing tobacco are some of the main causes of yellowing or discolored teeth.
- Medical conditions – some illness can lead to tooth discoloration, as can certain antibiotics and other medications.
- Age – as you get older, the enamel on your teeth will naturally begin to thin, exposing the yellow dentin underneath.
- Hygiene – poor dental hygiene practices can allow plaque to build up on the teeth, giving them a yellow or discolored appearance.
- Trauma – an injury to the tooth may cause the tooth to become discolored.
How is tooth discoloration treated?
The treatment for your tooth discoloration will depend largely on the cause. If dental hygiene is the cause, beginning to use proper techniques following a dental cleaning or deep cleaning may provide adequate treatment. In other cases, you may want to schedule whitening treatments or consider dental bonding or porcelain veneers.
It is important not to ignore a tooth that has been injured. Once a tooth loses blood flow, it can begin to die, and will eventually loosen and fall out if left untreated. If you have experienced any sort of oral trauma, it is important that you seek treatment as soon as possible.
Is tooth discoloration preventable?
It is possible to prevent certain types of tooth discoloration with a few minor adjustments to your daily habits. If you use tobacco products, it is important for your dental health that you begin taking steps to stop. Avoiding beverages like soda, coffee, and dark teas can also help to prevent tooth discoloration. Making these small changes in addition to maintaining a regular schedule of visits to our office for cleanings and check ups can help keep your teeth free from staining and discoloration.