Why Do Teeth Lose Their Whiteness?

Why Do Teeth Lose Their Whiteness?

Your teeth are meant to stick with you for life. Enamel — the thin, white layer on the surface of your teeth — is a 5 on the Mohs hardness scale, which makes it the hardest material found in nature. Beneath that, there’s a layer of dentin, which is a 3 on the Mohs hardness scale. 

However, as tough as your teeth are, they can experience damage and staining. With time, the enamel wears down, showing some of the yellow dentin underneath.

Dr. Charley Cheney, our expert at Complete Dental Arts in Newnan, Georgia, is aware of how important the aesthetics of teeth are to his patients. Below, we asked him to explain why teeth lose their whiteness and what can be done about it. 

Understanding what causes yellowing and staining of the teeth 

Some staining and yellowing are inevitable with time. However, a few risk factors can accelerate the process, including:

Drinking coffee and tea 

Enamel has tiny openings that pigment can go through and stain your teeth. Coffee and tea contain tannins, plant substances known to stain surfaces. Tannins are also found in fruit juices. 

Eating a diet high in sugars 

A high-sugar diet doesn’t directly cause staining, but sugar attacks the tooth enamel, causing more dentin to be exposed. And since dentin isn’t white like enamel is, your teeth may appear yellow. 

Within 20 seconds after eating sugar, the bacteria in your mouth start feeding on the sugar, and they produce acids as a byproduct of the feeding process. These acids are the reason why enamel is often worn out in people who have a high-sugar diet. 

Smoking cigarettes 

The nicotine in cigarettes has a yellow tint to it, so frequent exposure to nicotine can cause staining. Also, if you smoke, the tar from smoking can accumulate on the surface of your teeth. 

Taking certain medications

If you’ve been taking tetracycline, doxycycline, blood pressure medications, antihistamines, or antipsychotic drugs, you may notice some yellowing of your teeth. 

Suffering from conditions that impact enamel integrity 

Amelogenesis imperfecta (AI) is a genetic disorder that prevents the normal formation of enamel on your teeth. If you suffer from this condition, you may see yellow or gray staining on the surface of your teeth. 

How you can achieve a whiter smile 

Dr. Cheney uses the latest tooth-whitening technology: the KöR whitening system. This novel treatment involves the use of refrigerated bleaching substances, which are more potent at destroying tooth stains without damaging your enamel. 

Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn more about the prevention and treatment of stained teeth today.

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