Most people consider a bright, white smile to be attractive, especially as numerous celebrities have sported the glowing Hollywood smile for many years. Historically, a white smile has always been synonymous with beauty and success and this is very much the same case today and even healthy teeth can look unhealthy if they are yellow.
Tooth staining and discolouration is very common and there are many causes of staining that can dim a smile. These include:
Most people know that smoking is bad for their health, but fewer smokers may be aware of the effects of smoking on their skin and teeth. Smoking increases the risk of serious, life-threatening illnesses and diseases but it also damages the skin and causes the teeth to lose their natural white glow, replacing it instead with a yellowy brown tinge. Smoking causes staining because the nicotine penetrates the cracks and pits in the teeth and clings to the surfaces of the teeth and once the teeth are stained, it is very difficult to lighten them.
Poor oral hygiene
Poor oral hygiene causes the teeth to become stained, as plaque can start to collect around the gum line and on the surfaces of the teeth, causing the enamel to weaken and become damaged and worn. The enamel is naturally white and once it starts to wear the yellowy dentin portion of the tooth becomes exposed, which affects the look of the tooth, as well as causing sensitivity. Poor oral hygiene can also cause the gums to become discoloured and sometimes the teeth start to appear yellow or green in colour near the gum line.
Food and drink
Smoking and poor oral hygiene are not the only causes of stained teeth and people who do not smoke and have good oral health can suffer from discoloured or stained teeth as a result of their diet. People who drink strongly coloured drinks on a regular basis, for example, are more likely to have discoloured teeth. Coffee, tea and red wine can all cause the teeth to become stained and fruit juices may also alter the colour of the teeth.
Solutions for tooth staining
Whitening toothpastes and oral hygiene products can be effective for very mild discolouration, but professional whitening treatments are the only solution for heavy staining. However, treatment is not recommended for people who have untreated decay or gum disease. Professional whitening treatments can produce amazing results, but if the staining is very heavy it is unwise to imagine the end result being similar to the Hollywood style showcased by A-list stars.
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