Teeth whitening can make a dramatic difference to the colour of your teeth, but over time the discolouration is likely to return. When you understand the reason for the discolouration, you might be able to take action to help your teeth stay whiter between treatments. Here are a few common causes of tooth discolouration.
1. Stains From Food and Drink
Many cases of tooth discolouration are simply caused by eating and drinking strongly coloured foods and beverages, such as red wine and black coffee. Even liquorice and berries can stain teeth.
To reduce the impact of these substances on your teeth, you could try rinsing your mouth with water after you eat or drink them. Using a whitening toothpaste can also help to slow down the rate at which stains build up.
Smoking is another common cause of dental staining. Tobacco leaves a yellow or brown coating on the teeth. Whitening treatments can remove this staining, but if you go back to your regular smoking habit, it will soon build up again. Switch to vaping or using a nicotine patch to help you cut down to reduce the effect on the colour of your smile.
3. Thin Enamel
Sometimes, teeth appear yellow not because they are stained, but rather because the outer enamel layer of the tooth has become so thin that the yellow dentin layer shows through. Thin enamel is most common in older people.
Whitening treatments cannot help with tooth discolouration that is the result of thin enamel. However, a dentist can prescribe treatments that can help to build the enamel back up again, such as fluoride tablets or special toothpaste. You would need to use these treatments consistently for several weeks or months in order to see an effect.
If you have had brown stains on your teeth since you were young, it is possible that they developed as a result of overexposure to fluoride. This condition, called fluorosis, most often affects children who swallow large amounts of toothpaste rather than using just a small amount and spitting it out.
The brown spots associated with fluorosis are difficult to remove, but dentists can use veneers to hide them if you want to enjoy the benefits of a whiter smile.
Schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist to discuss your goals for the appearance of your teeth and find out what treatment options might be suitable for you.