An estimated 80 percent of adults want a better smile, which most people relate with having whiter and brighter teeth. As a result, teeth whitening has become very popular in recent years. Bleaching or teeth whitening involves lightening the shade of your natural teeth and removing stains and discoloration. Whitening can greatly improve the appearance of your teeth and smile.
Why Do Teeth Get Discolored?
The color of your natural teeth is created when light is reflected and scattered off the outer layer of the tooth (known as enamel), combined with the color of the underneath tooth layer (dentin). The thickness and smoothness of tooth enamel is unique to every person as it depends on your genes. Thinner enamel means that more of the dentin color will show through. Additionally, smoother or rougher enamel affects how light is reflected, and therefore, the tooth color.
Every day, a thin film (pellicle) forms on the surface of the enamel, which makes it easy for stains to stick to the tooth. Enamel also contains tiny pores that can hold stains if you don’t clean your teeth properly.
Some of the reasons for teeth discoloration include:
- Age – tooth enamel is naturally white, but it thins over time due to normal wear, allowing the yellowish dentin to show
- Fluorosis – teeth darkening due to excessive fluoride consumption
- Food and drink – tea, coffee, red wine, and other food items contain intense color pigments known as chromogens that bond to tooth enamel, causing discoloration
- Tobacco use – chewing and smoking tobacco exposes you to two chemicals responsible for creating stubborn stains: nicotine and tar
- Illness – early tooth decay or illness during tooth development can also cause spots on your teeth
- Medications – tooth discoloration can be a side effect of taking certain medication, like antihistamines and antipsychotics. Fetuses and babies may also be at risk of tooth discoloration of the adult teeth if exposed to antibiotics like doxycycline and tetracycline.
- Calculus – accumulated plaque can also reduce the sparkle of your teeth
Anyone Can Enjoy a Whiter Smile
If you desire a brighter smile, you should discuss with a dentist near you about your suitability for teeth whitening to reduce staining and discoloration. This will help to improve your appearance and make you less self-conscious so you can smile more. Schedule your appointment today.