Teeth may lose their shine and whiteness even if people keep up with a healthy oral regime. This can lower their self-confidence and make them hesitant in breaking a smile. A survey conducted by the American Association of Orthodontists revealed that almost 90% of the patients involved in the campaign requested a tooth whitening procedure to be conducted on them. Tooth whitening is a simple and popular cosmetic procedure which can effectively lighten the color of a patient’s teeth. The procedure helps in stain removal and counter discoloration of teeth.
Why do teeth lose their color?
Enamel, the outermost layer of the teeth, imparts the white coloration to the teeth when light falls on it and scatters. Dentin, a hard bony tissue, found under the enamel contributes to the visual appearance of the teeth as well. Varying thickness and smoothness of enamel interferes with the reflection of the light and impacts the appearance of the teeth. The formation of a thin protein layer known as pellicle on the enamel allows development of stains on the teeth. Pellicle formation starts soon after teeth are cleaned and immediately after chewing on any food products. Further, the tooth enamel has small pores which can aid in stain formation.
The natural condition can be aggravated because of the following reasons which, in turn, accelerate discoloration and stain formation:
- Tobacco use: Nicotine and tar found in tobacco can cause the formation of stains on a person’s teeth. While tar is naturally dark, nicotine reacts with oxygen to form a yellowish layer on the teeth.
- Consumption of dark-colored drinks: Coffee, tea, and red wine is rich in chromogens which are intense color pigments that easily stick to the tooth enamel and stain it.
- Age: Tooth enamel thickness can diminish over time exposing the yellow colored dentin.
- Injury or trauma: The natural reaction of the body after an injury to the teeth is the production of dentin in excess which is darker in color and can be the key cause behind teeth discoloration.
- Medicine: Darkening of teeth can occur due to side effects from the consumption of antibiotics, antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, and antipsychotics.