With the advent of teeth whitening, it seems as though you can’t turn on the television or open a magazine without seeing a gleaming white smile staring back at you.
White teeth have become such a common cosmetic dental treatment that there are currently hundreds of products and procedures on the market today aimed specifically at providing consumers with pearly white smiles.
However, most of us do not have perfectly white teeth naturally. Have you ever wondered why our teeth darken over time? Dr. William Harper recognizes that staining is a common complaint among HIS/HER patients and would like to provide some insight into this problem and offer suggestions on how to correct it.
Why Do Teeth Darken?
Teeth discoloration can be caused by a variety of factors. Most commonly, tooth darkening occurs as a natural effect of aging. As we get older, the outer hard tissue covering our teeth, called enamel, wears away and exposes the darker dentin beneath it. This can cause our teeth to appear more gray or yellow rather than white.
Additional tooth staining can also be caused by certain medications. The most notable of these is tetracycline staining, which occurs during tooth development in infancy and childhood when tetracycline antibiotics become incorporated into the tooth structure itself. This causes a translucent, gray appearance to teeth.
Diet can also have a significant impact on tooth color. Colored beverages such as coffee, tea, and soda, as well as some fruits, can cause teeth to darken with repeated intake. In addition, cigarette smoking and the use of other tobacco products can cause staining and tar buildup on teeth.
If teeth discoloration is a cosmetic concern for you, don’t hesitate to discuss your options with Dr. Harper during your next visit. Professional teeth whitening treatments, porcelain veneers, and composite tooth bonding can all help you achieve the look that you desire!