Why Are My Teeth Losing Their Whiteness?

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White, bright teeth help us look more attractive and feel more confident. Sometimes, though, teeth can look dingy, yellowed, or stained. Here are seven reasons why teeth lose their natural whiteness — and how we can help.

If your teeth aren’t looking as white as you’d like, you’re not alone. Every year, millions of people turn to teeth-whitening treatments to enjoy more beautiful, healthier looking smiles. 

As a top-rated cosmetic dentistry practice in San Antonio, Texas, Preva Dental helps patients restore their beautiful pearly whites with an array of treatment options tailored to each patient's unique needs. Here are seven reasons why your teeth may be losing their whiteness — and what Prathima Rasamsetty, DDS, and her team can do to help.

Why teeth lose their whiteness

Teeth get their white look from their outer layers of tough, durable enamel. Understanding why teeth lose their natural whiteness helps determine which treatment approach is the best choice for restoring your smile.

1. Foods and beverages

Deeply-pigmented foods and beverages are a major cause of tooth yellowing and dinginess. Coffee, red wine, and berries all contain pigments that can penetrate enamel and leave staining residues behind.

2. Age

Years of chewing and biting causes our enamel layer to slowly wear down, exposing more of the underlying tooth material, called dentin. Dentin has a yellowish appearance, and once enamel starts to thin, that yellow tint becomes more visible.

3. Acidic foods and drinks

Sodas and energy drinks are full of acids, and so are healthy foods, like citrus fruits. Acids slowly eat away at tooth enamel, exposing more of that yellowish dentin. Rinsing after eating or drinking a high-acid food or beverage helps neutralize the acids, but you can still develop yellowing over time.

4. Smoking

Smoking is a major cause of yellow or brown tooth stains and overall smile dinginess, thanks to the staining chemicals contained in tobacco products. 

5. Poor oral hygiene

Poor brushing and flossing habits leave sticky plaque film and hard tartar behind. Both plaque and tartar can leave your teeth looking dingy, in addition to increasing your risk of gum disease. Improved habits and regular professional cleanings can help.

6. Tooth damage

The outer part of your teeth may be hard and solid, but the center of each tooth is home to the nerves and blood vessels that keep the tooth healthy. If your tooth is damaged — by trauma or disease — it can become discolored, too. 

7. Medication use

Several common medications can cause tooth discoloration, including:

  • Some antibiotics
  • Certain types of blood pressure medicine
  • Some antihistamine medicines

If you suspect a medication you’re taking might be causing tooth discoloration, do not stop taking it without speaking to your prescribing doctor first.

Restoring your white smile

Although tooth discoloration can be caused by many things, they all have one thing in common: They’re all treatable by our team.

Many types of tooth discoloration can be treated with in-office teeth-whitening treatments, including discoloration associated with smoking and dietary habits. Our in-office treatments use professional-strength whitening agents combined with laser treatments for deeper penetration and more dramatic, longer-lasting results.

For deeper discoloration associated with enamel wear or tooth damage, porcelain veneers or crowns can help. These restorations fit over the tooth surface, hiding deep discoloration and giving you a beautiful smile. Crowns and veneers are custom tinted so they blend beautifully and look completely natural.

Enjoy a more beautiful, more confident smile

Few things give you more confidence than a beautiful, dazzling smile — and few things can make you feel more self-conscious than a smile that looks dingy or yellowed. Don’t let tooth discoloration hold you back. We can help. To learn how, call 210-791-7826 or book an appointment online with Dr. Rasamsetty and the team at Preva Dental today.