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What Causes Tooth Discolouration?

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That yellow colour or brown tinge on your teeth could be caused by a variety of reasons, from particular foods or drinks, to the medications you take. If you’re stressing about stains, we’ve got good news – getting your teeth back to their white and dazzling best is fast and simple with professional teeth whitening.

In this article, we’re taking a look at the common causes of teeth staining, what different types of discolouration could mean, and how to get a brighter, whiter smile with our in-clinic or take-home teeth whitening options.

Types of teeth staining

There are three different types of tooth discolouration: extrinsic, intrinsic and age-related.

Extrinsic discolouration: With this type of staining, the discolouration only affects the tooth enamel, i.e. the surface of the tooth. Extrinsic staining is usually caused by food, beverages or tobacco.

Intrinsic discolouration: This type of discolouration involves staining that’s located below the tooth’s surface, often resulting in a greyish colour. It occurs when stain-causing particles break through the surface of the tooth and accumulate inside the tooth enamel.

Age-related discolouration: As we age, our tooth enamel begins to wear away, which can result in a more yellow-ish appearance. Age-related staining can be caused by both extrinsic and intrinsic factors.

Causes of tooth discolouration

There are many causes of tooth staining, from consuming certain foods and drinks to habits such as smoking, as well as injury, medications and the aging process.

Here are some of the common causes of discoloured teeth:

  • Food & Drink: Beverages such as coffee, tea, red wine and dark soft drinks, as well as certain fruits and vegetables, can result in yellow or discoloured teeth.
  • Tobacco: Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco can cause teeth to become discoloured, as well as increasing your risk of serious health conditions such as cancer.
  • Trauma or disease: Trauma, illness or disease that affects enamel development in children (in the womb or while teeth are developing) can cause discoloured teeth. Trauma to adult teeth can also be a cause of discoloured teeth.
  • Medications: Certain medications can contribute to teeth discolouration, including high blood pressure medications, chemotherapy, antihistamines, and some antipsychotic medications. If you’re concerned about the effect of your medication on your teeth, talk to your doctor.

What does my tooth colour mean?

The colour of your teeth could provide a clue as to what’s causing the discolouration, particularly in the case of extrinsic (surface) stains.

If you’re wondering what’s behind your teeth staining, take a look at some common causes for each colour:

Yellow teeth:
  • Tobacco
  • Beverages such as tea, coffee and red wine
  • A diet that’s high in simple sugars
  • Certain medications
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Chronic dry mouth
Brown spots or staining:
  • Tobacco use
  • Beverages like tea, coffee, cola, and red wine
  • Fruits like blueberries, blackberries, and pomegranates
  • Untreated tooth decay
  • Tartar buildup
White spots:
  • A cavity, which can cause a white spot on your tooth that becomes darker in colour
  • Too much fluoride
Black spots or stains:
  • An advanced dental cavity
  • Fillings or crowns containing silver sulphide
  • Liquid iron supplements
Purple tinge:
  • Regular consumption of red wine, which can lead to a purple undertone

What can I do about discoloured teeth?

If you’re concerned about discoloured teeth, the good news is it’s quick and easy to have your teeth professionally whitened through your Apple Dental practitioner. We offer safe and effective teeth whitening treatments from the comfort of our Lane Cove practice or as a convenient take-home option.

Teeth whitening in our practice

Our Philips Zoom! in-chair teeth whitening treatment is a safe, fast and convenient way to get beautifully white teeth and a brighter smile in as little as 90 minutes.

Performed in our state-of-the-art practice, in-chair whitening involves four 15-minute treatment rounds with a short break in between. Contact Apple Dental to find out how you can enjoy a dazzling smile in next to no time!

Customised take-home teeth whitening

Prefer to whiten your teeth from home? Our customised take-home whitening kits are a highly effective and less invasive treatment option using custom-made trays that fit perfectly over your teeth.

Simply place the special whitening gel into the trays and wear them for 30 minutes, twice a day – or for 4-6 hours (ideally overnight) if you’re using the Nite White trays. You’ll see spectacular results within 7-14 days, with visible improvements in just a few days.

Both in-clinic and at-home teeth whitening treatments offer similar results, with the at-home option taking longer to achieve your desired outcome. For the best whitening results, we recommend a combination of both techniques.

If you’d like to whiten your teeth and achieve a beautifully bright smile, contact us today to find out more about professional teeth whitening.

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