Tooth discolouration is a common problem. It can start with simple spots and progress to worsening, and it can happen for a variety of reasons. 

If you have recently noticed that the colour of your teeth has changed, it may not be due to anything serious. Many times discolouration can be treated and prevented. Below we reveal everything you need to know about teeth discolouration, its causes, prevention, and treatment.

Why do teeth become discoloured?

Habits and routines directly influence our oral health. These visibly affect the colour of our teeth. Not brushing your teeth at least three times a day can lead to discolouration. This is the most common reason why your teeth may get discoloured. But there are more causes for which discolouration can occur.

Discolouration starts with dark or white spots that may develop on our teeth. Something that can cause this is age, which alters the appearance of tooth enamel.

Other reasons that can cause discolouration in your teeth are congenital diseases, environmental factors, and infections.

Dentists divide the causes of tooth discolouration into three categories: intrinsic reasons, extrinsic reasons, and age.

Extrinsic discolouration:

It occurs when the outer layer of the tooth, that is, the enamel, has been stained. Causes can be staining liquids such as coffee, wine, cola, or other types of soft drinks, as well as certain foods. Smoking also causes extrinsic dental staining.

Intrinsic discolouration:

This type of condition occurs when the internal structure of the tooth, or dentin, darkens or takes on a yellowish colour. Causes can be too much exposure to fluoride during early childhood, use of antibiotics, a fall, or trauma. Some diseases can also cause tooth discolouration. For example, dentinogenesis is a disease that causes colour changes ranging from grey to amber to purple.

Discolouration caused by age:

Dentin naturally turns yellow over time, as the enamel that covers your teeth thins with age. This also makes it even more susceptible to food and tobacco staining.

How to prevent dental discolouration?

  • Avoid and reduce direct contact with acids.
  • Reduce your intake of carbonated drinks.
  • When drinking, use straws to avoid direct contact with the teeth.
  • If you drink coffee and/or smoke, consider reducing the amounts or stopping altogether.
  • Maintain optimal dental hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly.
  • Visit your dentist for dental cleanings every six months.

What treatments are available for discoloured teeth?

  • Dental bonding. 

Dental bonding is a procedure in which a coloured material is applied to the tooth. A special light is used to get the material hardened and bonded to the tooth.

  • Dental veneers.

Dental veneers are custom-made sheets. Dental veneers are custom-made sheets. With them, discoloured teeth are covered.

  • Use whitening creams that do not need a prescription.
  • Visiting a dental professional who uses whitening products and professional procedures

Treatment options vary depending on the causes of the discolouration.

If your teeth appear to have an abnormal colour or discolouration even when you follow good dental hygiene practices, make an appointment with your dentist.