It would be amazing if teeth could stay a pearly white forever. However, that’s highly unlikely. The foods we eat, the drinks we drink, and some of our lifestyle habits can play a large role in the color of our teeth, and for many, it means staining or discoloration. One way to keep your teeth whiter for longer is to know what types of foods, drinks, and habits to avoid to prevent your teeth from staining or discoloration.
Why Do Teeth Stain?
There is a chemical compound known as chromogens that are responsible for giving drinks and foods a strong color. Unfortunately, it is also this compound that causes stains and discoloration on your teeth. Another substance called tannin can also cause your teeth to stain. Lastly, acids can cause your teeth to stain by wearing down your teeth. Think of your teeth as a white shirt. If you spill something on your shirt and it stains, that same substance will stain your teeth.
Types of Stains
There are three types of stains your teeth can experience. First is extrinsic teeth stains. These are stains that occur on the surface of the tooth, usually from pigmented residue from drinks, food, or tobacco use. Usually, you can easily remove these stains with brushing and flossing, and/or brushing with whitening toothpaste.
An intrinsic stain is a stain that occurs below the tooth’s surface when the stain-causing particles make their way through the tooth exterior. They then accumulate within the enamel. These types of stains are much more difficult to remove and may require professional teeth whitening.
Lastly, age-related tooth stains are a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic stains. The inner core of your teeth, the dentin, naturally becomes more yellow over time as a result of age. With age, the enamel also thinner which then allows the dentin to show through and make teeth look yellower.