The Prevalence of Tooth Discoloration

Tooth discoloration and staining is a relatively common problem. Teeth are porous and are therefore not stain resistant.

Red wine, soda, coffee and tea, among other food and drink, contribute to the discoloration of teeth over time. Medications such as the antibiotic tetracycline can cause significant staining, resulting in yellow, grayish teeth. Smokers’ teeth can become permanently stained if the discoloration is not treated in a timely manner. Discoloration can also occur secondary to conditions such as fluorosis, dentin and enamel dysplasia and dental caries.

Tooth trauma caused by a fall or collision can cause tooth discoloration. Trauma could result in tooth death (tooth necrosis) which would cause discoloration. Typically, root canal therapy is required as the treatment for tooth necrosis, after which internal bleaching can be performed to correct discoloration.

Tooth brushing alone can’t brighten teeth dulled by years of exposure to such discoloring agents. In fact, people with dull teeth sometimes over-brush in an attempt to eliminate stains, and this can harm the enamel covering of the tooth.