If you were an alien looking down on humanity, and you only received transmissions of North American commercials, you’d have some pretty strange notions about how we function. You’d think that teeth, for example, were almost entirely used as a mating display and that getting them as white as possible was essential to fulfill some sort of social convention. Today, we’re going to talk about tooth discoloration, but while we do so, it’s important to remember that everyone’s teeth are different, and that includes the colour. Avoid over whitening your teeth, and remember that your health is more important than some preconceived notion of beauty made to sell whitening strips.
That all said, your teeth certainly can become discolored, and for a wide variety of reasons. The most common discoloration occurs as a result of staining; if you love coffee, chocolate and red wine, you can expect your teeth will begin to discolour. Similarly, smoking can discolour your teeth quite quickly; in essence, if you’re engaged in a lot of hedonistic consumption, you’re likely to see some discoloration. If you’re concerned about discoloration, cutting back on problematic food items and smoking is a great solution; remember, you don’t have to stop it all immediately – a slow, mindful approach can be better than quitting cold turkey and relapsing.
Tooth discoloration doesn’t always have to do with what you’re eating, drinking and smoking, though; there’s a wide variety of other causes. The one that will be most obvious to folks is bad oral hygiene; if you never brush or floss, you can expect discoloration to occur pretty rapidly as plaque builds up and causes discoloration. Certain medications, including some used for high blood pressure or antihistamines, can also cause discoloration; medical treatments like chemotherapy can also contribute. Medical conditions of various types can also increase discoloration, mainly those that affect enamel and dentin. Excessive fluoride can cause discoloration; it’s important to note that the levels of fluoride in the water of Winnipeg are low enough to not contribute to fluorosis in the teeth, and that the condition is usually found in places where the natural water has excess fluoride. Age and genetics can affect discoloration, as well.
There’s a variety of different options for tacking discoloration. Practicing good oral hygiene, visiting your dentist yearly, avoiding problem foods and cutting smoking out will all reduce the appearance of discoloration. When discoloration is severe, there’s a variety of options to bring the appearance of your teeth closer to what you want. Over-the-counter whitening is one option, but it’s important to consult with your dentist before beginning a regimen in order to rule out any potential problems and find the best treatment options. There are also whitening options your dentist can perform that wouldn’t be available over-the-counter. Veneers can be used in order to cover tooth discoloration, but would generally be considered a last resort option, as they are more effectively used to remedy certain oral health problems. At Markham Dental, we’re proud to have experienced dentists who can review your teeth whitening options with you and come up with solutions to get your teeth looking healthy.