Causes of Tooth Discolouration

Over time, teeth can become discoloured and no longer be the bright white colour which we desire. This is one of the most common questions our experts here at Farsley are faced with. Well, there are a few reasons why this could in fact be the case; extrinsic, intrinsic and age related – allow us to explain these in more detail.

Extrinsic – This is the most common way in which teeth can become discoloured. It occurs when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) becomes stained. Causes include drinking coffee, wine and cola can all cause this. Smoking is also a common cause of extrinsic stains.

Intrinsic – This is caused when the inner structure of the tooth darkens or gets a yellow tint. Intrinsic discolouration is caused by a number of different factors including (but not limited to)

  • Overexposed to fluoride from an early age
  • Tetracycline antibiotics were taken during the second half of pregnancy/you yourself used these antibiotics when you were 8 or younger
  • Trauma to the tooth – i.e. a fall which has damaged the developing tooth
  • A rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta can also cause discolouration in grey, amber and purple colours.

Age Related – This is a combination of both factors. Over time, dentin (one of the four major components of teeth) naturally yellows. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner over time, which allows dentin to show through. Foods and smoking contribute to this staining. Whilst any chips or any other injuries over time can also cause discolouration, particularly if the pulp (the part in the centre of the tooth) has been damaged.

Discolouration is obvious, as you’ll instantly notice any stains on the enamel.

So, what can you do to prevent teeth discolouration? Obviously paying attention to your general oral health is the first step: brush regularly and refrain from sugar. Other than that, teeth whitening services can work wonders and restore a winning smile for almost anyone.

Farsley is a full service dental practice located in Leeds. If you want to discuss any dental treatment then please feel free to contact one of our experts on 0113 236 2010.


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