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What you need to know about tooth discolouration and its management


Many people wonder why their teeth are not white and they are willing to spend money to get the desired colour while many toothpaste advertisements also promise to whiten your teeth in no time.

However, it is time to give it a little more thought to figure out what changes the colour of your teeth.

A series of tweets by the Nigeria Dental Association (NDA) on its twitter handle @nigdental explained that there are various reasons the teeth get stained or change colour. This is being referred to as tooth discolouration.

According to the tweets, tooth discolouration is abnormal tooth colour that can be caused by numerous local oral systemic factors

The tweets explain that external stains can be caused by dental plaque & tartar, tobacco, food & beverages, Chromogenic bacteria, certain mouthwashes and some medications.

Intrinsic stains can be caused by tooth trauma, infections, dental restorations, nutritional deficiency, genetic defects, hereditary conditions, complications of pregnancy and even dental caries.

It, however, said irrespective of the cause of tooth discoloration, poor oral hygiene always makes it worse.

The association said teeth get yellower as one ages due to the outer (white) enamel being eroded from constant use, leaving the inner (yellow) dentine to be exposed.

It listed the use of a hard-bristled toothbrush, frequent consumption of soft drinks, consuming highly abrasive diets as habits that erode the enamel faster.

Solving tooth discolouration

According to the tweets, the social effects of tooth discolouration range from reduced self-confidence, to shyness.

This, the association, said makes it common for people to approach their dentist or purchase all sorts of items in a bid to achieve whiter and brighter smile.

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To solve tooth discoloration, the first step is an adequate and appropriate diagnosis of the problem and the possible cause, according to the association.

Possible treatment options are said to include: regulation of diets and habits, effective toothbrushing, improved oral hygiene practices, frequent scaling & polishing, enamel micro-abrasion, tooth bleaching, amongst others.

“As always, we strongly recommend a proper consultation with your dentist before treatment, as not everyone is suited for some procedures,” the association said.


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