You’re proud of your smile, so you do all you can to keep it looking as bright and as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always guarantee that your smile will remain beautiful and blemish-free. A tooth infection, systemic illness, some medications, and habits like smoking or excessive alcohol consumption can dull and stain your teeth in spite of good hygiene. Even the foods and beverages you consume routinely leave their marks on your teeth. Professional teeth whitening can help erase most stubborn surface stains, but understanding the main reasons why food tarnishes your smile can help you prevent some of the most common teeth stains.
Top Teeth Stainers
It might go without saying, but darker foods and beverages are more likely to leave noticeable stains on your teeth. Wine, tea, soda, sports drinks, dark sauces, and sweets are among the most notorious teeth stainers, each containing acids and persistent color molecules that cling to your tooth enamel. As a general rule, if your meal is dark enough to stain your white table cloth, then it can stain your teeth to the same degree.
Your food owes its color to strongly-pigmented molecules called chromogens that like to adhere to your tooth’s enamel (the semi-translucent layer of minerals surrounding your teeth). Chromogens don’t cling to your teeth easily, but when enamel is weakened by acid, the molecules can gain stronger hold. Many foods are naturally acidic, and others contain sugar and carbohydrates that feed acid-producing oral bacteria. As acids raise your mouth’s pH balance, they sap minerals from your teeth and weaken your tooth enamel.
More than Stains
Aside from allowing chromogens to more-easily stain your teeth, weak enamel also increases your risk of developing cavities. Compromised enamel can allow bacteria to reach your tooth’s main structure and incite an infection. As it progresses, tooth decay can eat away your tooth’s structure, leaving cavities (holes) in your teeth that grow larger until treated. An internal tooth infection can change the color of the bulk of your tooth, or dentin, that lies underneath the enamel, and treating the cavity is the only way to improve the tooth’s discoloration.
About Your Grand Prairie Cosmetic Dentist:
Dr. Quinn Smith is a well-respected and highly experienced family and children’s dentist in Grand Prairie, TX. He takes a patient-first approach that starts from the moment patients enter our Park Tree Dental office, and he offers a three-year guarantee on all dental work that he performs. Whether you’re a new or returning patient, you can schedule a consultation or your next appointment with Dr. Smith by contacting us at (972) 262-5111.