Dental Tips Blog


What Causes Tooth Stain?

Posted in Teeth Whitening

Have you ever thought to ask your dentist what actually causes stain on your teeth? Sure, things like coffee, tea, or smoking can cause more stain than others…but what can you do to combat it and remove the deep-set stains that build up over the course of years at a time?

Stains are caused by very small particles that are absorbed onto the porous surface of the enamel. Small “tubules” across the surface of teeth allow microscopic stain molecules to gradually build up more and more stain until the entire tooth becomes discolored. Larger particles that are more superficial can sometimes be brushed off, with smaller portions left behind. Some people seem to be more susceptible to stain buildup than others. Drinking water after your coffee, or brushing your teeth after a glass of red wine can limit some of the stain particles that are built up.

Extrinsic, superficial stains like those caused by coffee are usually polished away during your dental cleaning twice each year. Unfortunately, intrinsic stains (that is, those that are absorbed into the microscopic tubules) are more difficult to remove. These are the stains that usually make the overall tooth look yellow or older than it really is. A professional grade whitening solution can oxidize these particles, causing them to loosen up and flow away from the tooth surface. Most professional whitening trays are worn for 30-60 minutes each day, with full results achieved in 7-14 days. Or, some people prefer to have in-office teeth whitening treatment. These treatments take about one hour and use a bright light to speed up the entire whitening process.

Ask your dentist or hygienist to tell you what color your teeth are with a dental shade guide. You might be surprised at how much whiter you could really be!

Posted on behalf of Gold Hill Dentistry

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