Does your smile appear dull, dingy, and discolored? You’re not alone. In fact, Americans spend over a billion dollars on smile whitening products every year because they’re unhappy with the color of their teeth. But what if we could better understand what’s causing the discoloration in the first place and, perhaps, prevent it? You’re in luck. Your dentist in Douglasville is here to share the top four things that often cause tooth discoloration and what you can do about them.
One of the best ways to almost guarantee tooth discoloration is by using tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco. Tobacco products contain ingredients such as tar and nicotine that are known to cause staining, so when tobacco is constantly introduced to the mouth, it’s incredibly common to notice yellowing of the teeth. It’s also common for tobacco users to notice brown spots thanks to the natural brown color of the tobacco itself. The best way to prevent tooth discoloration from tobacco is to avoid it altogether, but your dentist in Douglasville can also help reverse discoloration through a variety of smile whitening or cosmetic dentistry treatments.
- Foods & Drinks
Another common explanation behind tooth discoloration is found in our diets and in the foods and drinks we consume. Beverages such as a daily morning cup of coffee or tea, a nightcap of red wine, and soda can all cause teeth to appear brown or discolored. When it comes to foods that can cause tooth discoloration, think of foods that would stain a white shirt — berries, pasta sauce, and beets are all good examples. Additionally, foods and drinks that are highly acidic are known to attack tooth enamel and can cause teeth to appear dull, gray, or yellow. Alternatively, consuming too many sugary treats tends to cause tooth decay which can present itself as dark or brown patches. To decrease your chances of tooth discoloration from foods and drinks, enjoy tooth-staining treats in moderation.
- Tooth Trauma
A car accident, a fall, or a sporting accident can all result in tooth trauma. You’ll probably find it easier to identify this as a cause of tooth discoloration as you’ll be able to link the discoloration to a mouth injury, whereas the other causes occur over time, often without you even realizing it. Tooth trauma usually causes teeth to appear darkened or gray, and this can occur in one or even multiple teeth. The darkening is due to an injury inside the tooth and will require intervention from your dentist in Douglasville.
- Poor Oral Hygiene
Another incredibly common explanation for tooth discoloration is poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth every day helps remove plaque and bacteria buildup and also helps protect teeth against decay. If you don’t remove this buildup regularly and effectively with a proper oral hygiene routine, you may start to notice your teeth take on a yellowish or gray appearance – or you may even start to see orange or green spots on your teeth. To protect your smile, make sure you’re brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time and flossing once a day.
Of course, it’s also important to see your dentist in Douglasville every six months for a professional dental cleaning. At these appointments, your dental hygienist will remove even more buildup from your teeth that your at-home brushings can’t remove. This further helps keep your pearly whites white and fight off decay.
If you have gum pain, swollen gums, or increased tooth sensitivity, particularly along the gum line, you may be experiencing gum recession. This oral health problem can lead to other issues down the road, including increased tooth decay, sensitive teeth, and even tooth loss. So what exactly causes receding gums, and how is it treated? Your dentist in Douglasville is here to help.
Gum Recession: 101
Let’s first dive into what gum recession is so we can better understand how it affects oral health, what can cause it, and how it’s treated. Gum recession occurs when gum tissue starts to pull away from teeth, exposing teeth roots. Without this protection covering the roots and the inner workings of the teeth, it’s highly likely that tooth sensitivity will increase. Additionally, teeth are at greater risk for decay, cavities, and eventual tooth loss. But that’s not all. Once gum tissue is gone, it’s gone, and there’s no growing it back. However, your dentist may have treatment options available to help with gum recession.
Gum Recession Causes
There are a whole host of things that can cause gums to recede, and the cause can vary from person to person and include:
- Gum Disease
- Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
- Grinding and Clenching
It’s best to talk with your dentist in Douglasville to determine the main cause of your specific case so they can recommend the best gum recession treatment for you.
Treating Gum Recession
Just like there is no singular cause of gum recession, there’s also no singular treatment that’s right for everyone. Your treatment plan will be custom created just for you based on how severe your recession is. Treatment options can include:
- Scaling & Root Planing: The most common type of gum recession treatment is done right in your dentist’s office and is called scaling and root planing. This procedure is similar to a dental cleaning, but the difference is both the tooth and the roots are cleaned during a scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing helps remove plaque and tartar buildup from up under the gums and from the roots of teeth. You will most likely be numbed for this treatment to help keep you comfortable and relaxed.
- Antibiotics: Another treatment option that is often paired with scaling and root planing is the use of an antibiotic. The antibiotic helps remove any bacteria that may still be hanging around.
- Surgical Treatment: More advanced gum recession may require more advanced dental treatment. Thankfully, there are several surgical techniques that dentists can use to help combat gum recession. This treatment option is not appropriate for everyone, and it’s important to note that just because you have gum recession, it doesn’t mean you’ll need surgery. The best to find out how to treat gum recession is to talk with your dentist in Douglasville.
Receding gums may sound scary, but try not to worry. Besides having several treatment options to choose from, there are also things you can do to prevent gum recession from happening in the first place, and most of them are easy. Make sure you brush and floss every day and make sure you’re brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle, small circles. Lastly, see your dentist in Douglasville twice a year to further protect your oral health.