Causes of Teeth Staining

Teeth discolouration is caused by two kinds of staining — extrinsic (the build-up of surface stains, which hides the teeth’s natural color), and intrinsic (where the tooth, itself, is discoloured).

The causes of extrinsic staining are the following:

  1. Plaque. Virtually invisible on the tooth surface, plaque can become stained by bacteria in the mouth.
  2. Calcification. When plaque is uncleaned or untreated, it calcifies and becomes hard deposits around the gums. And with the accumulation of food pigments, acids, and bacteria, these deposits can become discoloured (from grey to yellow to dark brown and even black!). 
  3. Tobacco. Smoke from tobacco, and even from vape, contains chemicals that form yellow to brown stains on the teeth close to the gums.
  4. Betel chewing.
  5. Food and Drink Pigments. Consuming heavily-colored food and drink such as red meats, coffee, red wine, and soda can all contribute to tooth discolouration. 
  6. Metallic Elements. Exposing teeth to metallic compounds, such as those found in medicines and health supplements, could also cause discolouration. Examples are iron (black staining), iodine (black staining), copper (green staining), nickel (green staining), and cadmium (yellow-brown staining).

Intrinsic staining, on the other hand, are caused by the following:

  1. Cavities and tooth decay.
  2. Dental trauma.
  3. Enamel hypoplasia.
  4. Dentinogenesis imperfecta.
  5. Antibiotics like tetracycline and minocycline. 
  6. Hemolytic disease.

Certain factors can cause both extrinsic and intrinsic staining:

  1. Age. The enamel protecting the teeth wears out over time.
  2. Clenching and grinding of the teeth. These can cause microcracking on the teeth’s incisional edges, making it easier for pigments, acids, and bacteria to latch on to the teeth. It also wears out the enamel even faster than normal, making teeth translucent.

When it comes to teeth staining, whether extrinsic or intrinsic, prevention is always better than cure. Regular visits to the dentist, along with good oral hygiene habits, help keep teeth bright, and also contribute to healthier teeth, gums, and mouth. 

And for that extra whitening boost, a trip to The Smile Bar is a must!