What Causes Tooth Discoloration and Yellowing?

Many people go to extensive lengths to make their teeth as white as possible, by doing things such as purchasing tooth whitening kits from pharmacies. It can be distressing to notice tooth discoloration or yellowing, and it can be caused by both genetics and lifestyle habits.

Is Tooth Discoloration Genetic?

Some scientists have speculated that genetics may leave certain people pre-disposed to tooth discoloration. It is already known that our genes dictate our features and our body type, so it is not implausible that they may also dictate our susceptibility to having teeth that become discolored more easily. tooth discoloration

Some people are naturally born with whiter teeth than others and that each tooth in your mouth could develop into a slightly different shade than the other teeth (that is, our teeth are not necessarily uniform in color). Even though you may be born with a specific tooth composition, there are external factors that can affect this as well. Any negative change in the structure of a tooth can alter its original color, so the better your oral hygiene practices, the better chances you have of keeping your smile white.

Your tooth color is determined by the balance of minerals in the dentin of your teeth; however, it is the enamel that gives the tooth its real shade. Tooth enamel can develop stains and wear down over time when you eat acidic foods or drink carbonated beverages. However, some people can eat these foods for many years and not notice effects, while others may develop numerous cavities. This could be because some have more fragile enamel than others due to their genetics.

Do My Habits Affect the Color of My Teeth?

Most dentists agree that tooth discoloration is normally the result of a person’s lifestyle habits. There are many other causes of tooth discoloration, such as drinking a lot of coffee or wine and smoking cigarettes. These activities have the potential to leave stains on your teeth. But it could be that your tooth enamel is just more prone to getting discoloration and stains.

Even if you avoid smoking and drinking things like coffee, your teeth may not be yellower than someone else’s. Everyone would still have differently colored teeth, which lends some credence to the theory of genetic pre-determination.

Genetics are not solely to blame for discolored teeth, but may certainly have some influence in it. Lifestyle factors are a significant contributing factor in determining the color of your teeth. However, take a look at the color of your relatives’ teeth and you may notice similarities to your own.

For more information on how to better care for your teeth, contact our office and schedule a dental hygiene exam.

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What is the Best Teeth Whitening Option for Me?

Visiting a dentist to whiten your teeth is an easy way to brighten your smile. Whitening can also be accomplished through a take-home treatment option. Using a specialized whitening toothpaste or trying these take-home whitening trays can supplement your regular oral health routine and create bright results.  Below are the details of some of these techniques.

What’s the Deal With Whitening Toothpaste?

Teeth whitening toothpaste is not the same as other types of toothpaste. This is because it has a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide. It is an inexpensive and ongoing teeth whitening technique that works but may take weeks or months to produce noticeable results. Also, whitening toothpaste can only remove surface stains. teeth whitening options

What is In-Office Teeth Whitening?

Dr. Walters can perform laser teeth whitening in his office. For this procedure, he will apply bleach to each tooth and use a laser to generate heat to enhance the bleach’s effectiveness and speed up the process. The bleach is a hydrogen peroxide gel that ranges between 25 and 40 percent in levels of concentration. These high concentrations require special precautions to decrease tooth sensitivity and safeguard the gums, lips, and other oral tissues against damage.

Is Take-Home Teeth Whitening for Me?

We can prepare take-home teeth whitening kits for you at our office. Teeth whitening kits have a high concentration of either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. The kit includes custom-fitted dental trays that will ensure the whitening solution remains on the surface of the tooth. The trays also restrict the solution from reaching to the sensitive area of the gum. This method is fairly easy to use and you will see results after a week or two of use.

How About Teeth Bleaching?

The bleaching gel contains a more advanced concentration of peroxide as compared to over-the-counter teeth whitening gels. A significant change in teeth color, in a short period, is the major advantage of this in-office teeth whitening procedure. Involved in this protocol is the carefully-controlled use of a bleaching gel with a fairly high concentration of peroxide. The dental assistant will apply this to the teeth and during the procedure. He or she will use a protective gel to safeguard your gums against chemical exposure, then Dr. Walters will apply the bleaching agent to each tooth. 

We will use a special laser to activate the bleaching gel and further highlight the brightness of your smile. This procedure makes your teeth whiter than other techniques and it will last longer as well. The peroxide typically stays on the teeth for approximately 15  and 20 minutes, up to an hour.

Whichever technique you choose to whiten your teeth and brighten your smile, always consult with a dental professional before using it. Contact our office if you are interested in scheduling an appointment.

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Am I Grinding My Teeth at Night?

While most of us put our best foot forward when it comes to cultivating healthy habits, what about ones that develop while we sleep? Often these habits can develop and become firmly entrenched before we even start to develop noticeable symptoms during waking life. Bruxism, more commonly known as teeth grinding is one such issue. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms related to teeth grinding, it’s time for you to contact your dentist.

What Are the Symptoms of Teeth Grinding?

If you are or suspect you are, habitually grinding your teeth while you sleep, it should not be left untreated. Below are some of the known symptoms related to teeth grinding:

  • Headache
  • Jaw Pain or Popping
  • Sore Teeth
  • Loose Teeth
  • Fractured Teeth

What Do I Do if I Grind My Teeth?

If you are experiencing the above symptoms, chances are you could be grinding your teeth at night. Visiting our office is a good first step so we can assess the situation, look for dental damage that might need to be corrected, and come up with a strategy moving forward. teeth grinding at night

What Causes Teeth Grinding?

While most people associate compulsive teeth grinding with stress and anxiety, there are also other causes. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea, where individuals experience pauses in breathing during sleep, can also be a contributing factor. Having an abnormal bite or gaps from teeth that are missing, or even crooked teeth are also thought to play a role in the development of Bruxism.

According to a 2016 study in the Journal of the American Dental Association, there is also a strong correlation between those who consume large amounts of alcohol and teeth grinding, as well as smokers. The study suggests that drinkers and smokers are twice as likely to habitually grind their teeth at night.

What Treatment Options Are Available for Teeth Grinding?

When it comes to treating teeth grinding, finding out the underlying cause can be very helpful. For those suffering from high levels of stress and anxiety, finding a positive outlet for that stress can relieve the habit. Meditation, yoga, and exercise are all healthy options when it comes to managing stress and anxiety levels. 

Dr. Walters can also provide you with a custom-made mouthguard that will protect your teeth from nighttime grinding.

If you or someone you know suspects they are grinding their teeth at night, don’t hesitate to contact our office. Discovering the habit early on is crucial to preventing tooth damage. Those who frequently grind their teeth can strip their teeth of enamel, and over time, this can expose underlying layers of dentin. Individuals who reach this point will experience tooth sensitivity and decay. As your mouth is considered to be the gateway to your body, oral health, and overall health are inexorably linked. Any issues related to teeth grinding should be dealt with quickly in order to maintain optimum levels of oral and overall health.

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What Are the Causes of Canker Sores? How Can You Prevent Canker Sores?

Canker sores can appear in different forms inside the mouth. Aphthous stomatitis refers to a specific type of mouth ulcer that causes great pain. This ailment can affect people of different ages, from small children to adults. The most affected areas include the lips, the tongue, and the inner part of the cheek. In some cases, this can also extend to the upper regions of the throat.

Herpetic stomatitis (or herpes labialis) is a disease of the oral cavity that occurs when the lining of the mouth becomes infected and vesicles develop. This is the consequence of the herpes virus, which is the same as the chickenpox. These vesicles can break and cause severe local pain.  

What Causes Canker Sores?

Specific causes for this ailment remain unclear, although researchers are convinced that a wide array of factors lead to the outbreaks. canker sore

Some of the potential causes that trigger canker sores include:

  • Mouth Trauma
  • Food allergies
  • Vigorous brushing
  • Dental care products, including mouthwash solutions containing sodium Lauryl sulfate
  • A Bite on the Cheek or Lip
  • Dental Surgery    
  • Poor Diet
  • Helicobacter pylori bacteria
  • Emotional Stress        
  • Weight Loss or Fasting    

How Do You Prevent Canker Sores?

According to the Journal of the American Dental Association (ADA), individuals can prevent the development of canker sores by maintaining good oral hygiene. In addition, it is important to floss the teeth once a day and preferably use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Using an antibacterial mouthwash has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing canker sores.

To prevent mouth damage, avoid mouth irritating foods, including salt water and reduce stress. Foods that can trigger mouth ulcers include coffee, spices, nuts, pineapple, and tomatoes. Avoid talking while eating and chewing because this can cause buccal lesions that weaken the mucous membranes and favor canker sores. When brushing your teeth, exercise caution to avoid hurting the gums. If you wear dentures, ensure that they fit snugly otherwise consult your dentist.

How Do You Treat Canker Sores?

There are several over-the-counter numbing and protective oral agents that can be used to lessen your discomfort while the sore heals. You could also apply a thin layer of paste made of baking soda and water to the lesion and hydrogen peroxide is a good disinfectant. Coconut oil provides a viable way to reduce swelling and promote healing thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.

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