When we picture a healthy smile, we all tend to envision bright, white teeth. So as your dentist in Chapel Hill, we can certainly understand why it may be concerning if you notice some discoloration in your smile. We’re also here to help by sharing some things that can cause tooth discoloration, as well as how to fix it.
Poor Brushing Habits
The most common explanation for tooth discoloration is improper brushing or poor brushing habits. Daily brushings help remove plaque and bacteria on teeth that have built up throughout the day that otherwise could cause teeth to appear discolored. In fact, poor brushing habits can cause teeth to take on a yellowish or gray appearance, or even show orange or green spots. It’s important that you brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time to effectively remove this buildup and to protect yourself from the risk of decay, as well as discoloration.
An Accident or Trauma
A single tooth that seems to suddenly appear darker in color can indicate a sign of tooth trauma. Perhaps you experienced a sports accident, a fall, or you bonked your mouth on a hard surface and you didn’t think much of it. Yet a day or two later your tooth starts to look gray or dull. Chances are, the tooth experienced some level of trauma and you should have your dentist in Chapel Hill check it out.
Too Much Fluoride
Fluoride is something that many dentists use on both baby teeth and adult teeth to help strengthen enamel and protect against decay. It’s a mineral found naturally in many foods and drinks, and even in most public water supplies. However, there is such a thing as too much fluoride, and one of the most common signs of it are small white streaks or spots on the teeth known as fluorosis.
Medications or Illness
A certain antibiotic known as tetracycline can also cause tooth discoloration if a pregnant or nursing mom takes it around the same time teeth are developing and growing. This can cause teeth to appear bluish-gray or brownish-yellow. Additionally, an illness that results in high fever and even some infections may cause discoloration. Babies who have had hyperbilirubinemia, a condition that occurs when there’s too much bilirubin in the blood and the condition that causes jaundice, may experience teeth that look blue, green, red, or brown.
A diet that contains too many acidic foods and drinks can wear down tooth enamel and cause teeth to appear dull, dark, gray, or yellow. Furthermore, a diet high in sugary foods and drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay which can present itself as dark or brown patches. Some of the most common foods and beverages that are known to cause tooth discoloration include wine, coffee, tea, berries, and even pasta sauce.
Any discoloration in your teeth should be a sign that you should see your dentist in Chapel Hill to determine the cause as well as the best treatment. Call us to schedule an appointment today.