Next to halitosis, tooth stains are one of the most embarrassing and inconvenient dental problems to deal with. A pleasant conversation can turn into an unpleasant faux pas the minute someone takes notice of odd spots sticking to the surface of your front teeth. Even someone with otherwise excellent oral hygiene can become prone to tooth stains when they snack on chips or drink a few cups of coffee.
Thankfully, tooth stains are quite easy to manage and prevent. Recognizing what causes stains to stick to your teeth and having a few essential tools (such as tissue napkins, handkerchiefs, and a toothbrush) on hand are good ways to avoid any embarrassing social situations during your next date or meeting.
Tooth stains are generally divided into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsic tooth stains occur beneath the surface of the tooth. These stains usually occur due to excessive fluoride use, injuries, or certain chemical ingredients such as tetracycline. Tooth decay and genetics can also play a big role in the formation of these stains.
When intrinsic tooth stains occur, changes in the thickness of dental tissues and accumulation of stain-causing substances within the dental enamel cause teeth to become grayish in color. This kind of tooth stain isn’t that simple or easy to remove, but it can definitely be treated with professional cleaning treatments. Certain home-whitening products, such as whitening toothpaste and strips, can also be used to manage intrinsic stains.
Stains that occur on the surface of teeth are known as extrinsic tooth stains. Most people are able to manage and get rid of extrinsic stains without any trouble since they don’t affect dentin or tooth enamel too much. Extrinsic stains are also less likely to occur in people who practice proper dental hygiene and maintain a fiber-rich diet.
Extrinsic stains form when debris from food, drink, or tobacco sticks to the invisible film that covers the surface of your teeth. Exposure to metallic salts and iron can also cause extrinsic tooth stains to form even while you aren’t eating. As opposed to intrinsic stains, which usually require professional treatment, extrinsic stains can easily be removed and treated at home with regular brushing.
You don’t have to put a lid on your social life just because of a few stains on your teeth. Extrinsic tooth stains can easily be managed outside of the dentist’s office simply with good oral hygiene, dietary, and lifestyle habits. Here are some ways you can keep extrinsic tooth stains at bay.
Certain food and beverages are the most common causes of extrinsic tooth stains. Hot beverages are often more likely to cause the formation of tooth stains since they have to stay in your mouth and make contact with dental enamel a bit longer. On the other hand, cold beverages like wine and iced tea can also cause teeth to become discolored.
You can also develop extrinsic tooth stains when you consume food that causes your saliva and mouth to become very acidic. Juice, sports drinks, and citric fruits like lemons and oranges are just some of the most common culprits of acidity.
One way to prevent the reoccurrence of extrinsic tooth stains is to lessen your consumption of food and drinks that cause staining. You can also try eating low-acid food such as fish, meats, and nuts in order to make your diet more balanced.
Another way to keep food from staining your teeth too much is to brush right after eating. However, if you can’t brush right away, you can instead lessen the effect of food and drinks on your teeth. For instance, you can drink juice, sports drinks, or coffee with a straw to lessen any discoloration. Drinking plenty of water with each meal or snack can also prevent too much acidity in your mouth.
Cigarettes and chewable tobacco can easily cause discoloration. The more you smoke or chew tobacco, the more stains accumulate and stick to your teeth. Without early dental intervention, these stains can reach dentin and cause plenty of problems for your dental health. Furthermore, unlike food and drinks, tobacco, nicotine, and tar can’t just be counterbalanced with water or other products. The best way for smokers to manage extrinsic tooth stains is to lessen or stop their smoking habits entirely.
If stains have already shown up on your teeth, you can easily lessen or get rid of them simply by practicing good oral hygiene habits—in other words, brushing with whitening toothpaste and flossing at least twice a day. Most tubes of toothpaste sold at the supermarket and pharmacy are formulated with whitening and anti-tartar ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about making any huge changes to your daily brushing routine.
Hydrogen peroxide has been touted by many as a great ingredient for over-the-counter whitening products. Though this ingredient is very effective at removing discoloration, it can also erode teeth when used way too much. If you plan on using hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth at home, avoid using it every day.
Home dental scalers are a safe and inexpensive tool that you can use to get rid of any stubborn extrinsic stains. These devices are equipped with scaler tips that scrape off not only food and tobacco stains, but also plaque, tartar, and even dental calculus. If you’re having trouble with stains that haven’t been scrubbed off by your toothbrush, you can use a home dental scaler to get the job done more effectively. Our online store has a great-quality dental scaler that you can rely on both at home and at the office, so why not get yours today?