Dealing with Discolored Teeth

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Discolored teeth can affect a person's confidence and self-esteem. It can be caused by various factors such as genetics, certain medications, and lifestyle habits like smoking and consuming dark-colored drinks. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with discolored teeth and restore a bright smile. In this article, we will discuss the causes of discolored teeth, solutions to whiten them, and the pros and cons of each method.
Discolored Teeth

Causes of Discolored Teeth

There are two types of tooth discoloration: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic discoloration occurs when the outer layer of the tooth (enamel) is stained by food, drinks, or tobacco. Intrinsic discoloration happens when the inner structure of the tooth (dentin) darkens or becomes yellow. The following are common causes of tooth discoloration:

Extrinsic Causes

  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Coffee, tea, or red wine consumption
  • Dark-colored fruits and vegetables
  • Sugary and acidic foods and drinks
  • Poor dental hygiene

Intrinsic Causes

  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Medications such as tetracycline and doxycycline
  • Excessive fluoride intake
  • Root canal treatment

Solutions to Whiten Discolored Teeth

1. Professional Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening is a safe and effective way to whiten teeth. It is done by a dentist or dental hygienist using a special bleaching agent that is stronger than over-the-counter products. The procedure usually takes about an hour and can lighten teeth up to several shades.

Pros: Quick and effective results, done by a professional, long-lasting

Cons: Expensive, may cause sensitivity, not suitable for everyone

2. At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits

At-home teeth whitening kits are a cheaper alternative to professional whitening. They come in the form of gels or strips that contain a lower concentration of bleaching agent. They are applied to the teeth for a certain amount of time, usually for several days or weeks.

Pros: More affordable than professional whitening, convenient, easy to use

Cons: May cause sensitivity or gum irritation, less effective than professional whitening

3. Natural Remedies

Some people prefer natural remedies to whiten their teeth. These include:

  • Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste
  • Activated charcoal
  • Fruits such as strawberries and pineapple

Pros: Natural, inexpensive, easily accessible

Cons: May not be as effective as other methods, may cause enamel erosion if used excessively

4. Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are thin shells that are placed over the front surface of the teeth to improve their appearance. They are made of porcelain or composite resin and can change the color, shape, and size of the teeth.

Pros: Can improve the appearance of severely discolored teeth, long-lasting, stain-resistant

Cons: Expensive, irreversible, requires removing a small amount of enamel


Q: Are there any foods that can help whiten teeth?

A: Yes, some foods such as apples, carrots, and celery can help remove surface stains on teeth. They also increase saliva production, which helps neutralize acid in the mouth and prevent tooth decay.

Q: Can teeth whitening cause permanent damage?

A: Teeth whitening is generally safe when done by a professional. However, overuse or misuse of whitening products can cause sensitivity, gum irritation, and enamel erosion.

Q: How long does teeth whitening last?

A: The duration of teeth whitening depends on the method used and individual habits. Professional whitening can last up to three years, while at-home kits may need to be used more frequently.

Q: Can discolored teeth be prevented?

A: Yes, maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding smoking and excessive consumption of staining foods and drinks, and visiting a dentist regularly can prevent tooth discoloration.


Discolored teeth can be a cosmetic concern, but there are various solutions available to whiten them. Professional teeth whitening, at-home kits, natural remedies, and dental veneers are some of the options to consider. It is important to consult a dentist to determine the best method for each individual. Maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding habits that can stain teeth can also prevent discoloration. With proper care, a bright and confident smile is within reach.