Sources of Tooth Discoloration

Tooth discoloration happens for many different reasons. For some, it could be personal habits, but for others, it could be a sign of something deeper. Here, we’ll discuss the sources of it, so that you know what to look for.

First, let’s talk habits. Foods and drink, such as coffees, colas, tea, alcohol, and even some fruits and veggies can stain the teeth. Tobacco use also stains the teeth, making them yellow. Bad hygiene, such as not brushing, flossing, or even rinsing enough can cause discoloration.

Sometimes, it might be something bigger. Disease, for example, can affect the enamel, and the dentin can be discolored. Some treatments for this, such as head and neck radiation along with chemotherapy, and some infections in women who are pregnant can also cause discoloration in both the mother and the infant since it impacts the enamel. Some dental materials, such as amalgam restorations, especially those with sulfide in them can cause the teeth to have a grayish-black color to them.

Then there are medications. Tetracycline and doxycycline are known to make teeth discolored when given to developing children. Some mount rinses that contain chloride can stain teeth. Antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs, and even drugs for high blood pressure can also cause the teeth to be discolored.

Some factors are uncontrollable though. Getting older, for example, causes the outer part of the enamel to get worn down, revealing the yellowing dentin. Some people have naturally thicker or brighter enamel too.

Your environment can play a part as well. If there is too much fluoride from the environment, such as in water, or too much fluoride in what you use, you can cause the teeth to be discolored.

Finally, there is trauma. Damage from a fall can mess up the enamel, and it can cause adult teeth to be discolored too.

So how can you prevent it? Well, as said before some are not preventable, such as getting older and generics, but those that are lifestyle changes, you can change a few habits such as not having as much coffee or quitting smoking can help. If needed, start to brush and floss more, and use a mouthwash that isn’t going to discolor teeth. If you haven’t yet, set up an appointment with the dentist to bet cleaned up by the hygienist every six or so months. You should make sure that if you do have dental appointments, you follow through with them, and make sure that you’re keeping up with your hygiene. If you have too much fluoridated water, do make sure that you take some time and lessen it as well. You’ll be glad that you did.

When it comes to tooth discoloration, some is avoidable, some is not, but you should work to preserve the dentin and enamel that’s there, because when the dentin is exposed, it causes other issues as well, and by learning how to prevent that from happening, you’ll be able to keep your teeth for a whole lot longer.

The Different Types of Teeth

Everyone knows the contour, shape, and size of their own teeth. They notice them everyday. They see them in the mirror. They brush them. They pick food out of them and even massage particularly sore areas of their mouths. Just like any other part of your body, you are intimately familiar with your own teeth.

With that said, how many people actually know the names and roles of each tooth in their mouth? That’s an entirely different number of people, I’m sure.

We’re here to highlight the different types of teeth and what their different names and functions are. (Also, can you guess how many teeth are in the human mouth without counting your own?)


These are primarily used to bite into food. They’re particularly good at cleaving things in two and pulling a bite of food off that’s harder to remove. They’re the teeth that do the “biting”, when you think of a bite.

These are your top front 4 and bottom front 4 teeth. If you want to get technical, the inner two are called central incisors and the two to the sides of those are the lateral incisors.


These teeth are the sharpest in your mouth (even though incisors are pretty dang sharp, too). These are particularly sharp in order to pierce and tear meat. The incisors help to “chop” meat off when tearing, sure, but the canines do a much better job at holding onto meat tight and ripping it.

There are two on the top and two on the bottom in the front “corners” of your mouth. These are hard to miss.


Often grouped with the rest of your molars, premolars are the first two teeth after your canines on each side of your mouth (a total of 8). They’re a bit flat with some ridges and mostly function the same as your molars.


Molars are pretty well known. They come after the premolars and are much stronger than them. Molars also help your tongue to corral and swallow food. They’re primarily used for chewing and grinding foods in the back of your mouth, especially vegetables and other leafy foods.

2. canine. (piercing) 3. premolar. (crushing) 4. molar. (grinding)

Along with molars are the third molar, or wisdom teeth. Around 18 to 20 years of age, some people develop these. They’re often removed because of pain, overcrowding, and they’re hard to clean. In case of any complication, its always recommended consulting your olYMpia dentist.

(And to answer the question earlier, it’s 32 total teeth in the human mouth!)

Smoking and Oral Health

When it comes to oral health, one of the worst things you can do is smoke. There are a few reasons for this, and that’s because it leads to many problems both physically, and dental issues you don’t want to deal with. So, how does smoking impact the oral health? Well, read on to find out.

Smoking typically causes bad breath, discoloration of the tooth, inflammation of the salivary gland openings near the roof area of your mouth, increase in plaque and tartar within the teeth, more bone loss within the jaw, increased risk of leukoplakia, which are the white patches within the mouth, and an increased risk of developing gum disease and tooth loss.

It also can delay the healing process after an extraction, gum disease treatment, or even oral surgery. If you ever plan to get implants because of tooth loss, whether smoking or otherwise, it can lower the success rate of these. Finally, it increases your risk of developing oral cancer within the body.

Smoking and tobacco products do lead to gum disease because they affect the attachment of the bone, along with the soft tissue to the teeth. It can interfere with the normal tissue of the gums. This leads the smokers to be more susceptible to infections, including periodontal disease, which also impairs the blood flow to the gum area, and it can also affect the wound healing.

So, do pipes and cigars do the same? The answer is yes, and at the same rates as those as cigarettes. Pipe smokers have a similar tooth loss risk, and beyond that, they’re also at risk for other cancers, including throat cancers, and even if they don’t inhale, it can actually cause issues in the future, including bad breath, teeth that do get stained, and even an increased risk of gum disease. Simply put, it’s no joke.

The best thing that you can do is to quit smoking. Now, that’s much easier said than done, but there are new and alternative means to help you quit smoking fast, and to some amazing results. You’ll be able to, with this, stop smoking in its tracks, and it can make life even easier for you as well. You’ll be able to preserve your teeth, and it does help with bone loss prevention too. Smoking isn’t just bad for the body, in that it can cause lung cancers, but it also can cause some major issues in the future for your dental health.

Plus, remember that the oral health of your mouth is connected to the body’s general health, which in turn is something that you can make even better for yourself if you do follow the right habits. So quit smoking today, and see for yourself just what you can do in order to ensure the best and healthiest life that you can, and make sure that you have a great and healthy body and some teeth that will be around for the long run.

How Water Benefits Your Teeth

We all know that brushing our teeth two times a day and flossing once a day is pretty much prescribed by every dentist out there. But what else can we do to keep our dental health top notch?

Well, as simple as it may seem, drinking water is up there as the best things you can do.

Keeps your mouth hydrated.

Water is essential for our bodies (something everyone knows). I mean, water makes up more than half of our bodies, so that is sort of an indicator as to why we need it so much.

But water also helps to fight dry mouth. If your mouth is dry, your teeth risk erosion simply because saliva flow is low, which means your mouth won’t be as healthy and active in killing and washing away harmful bacteria.

Increases saliva flow.

Because water keeps your mouth hydrated, it allows your salivary glands to work better. And everyone knows that saliva is a natural cleaning agent that helps protect your teeth and cleanse your mouth of food particles that could cause dental problems.

Typically has fluoride.

Fluoride is known as a natural cleanser and fortifier for your teeth. It’s what resides in almost every kind of toothpaste and is the reason we brush our teeth in the first place. Not only does it wash away food residue, fluoride is known to help build up any lost enamel in your teeth. This allows your teeth to stay on top of the constant tug of war with bacteria. There’s essentially a balance between having healthy teeth and developing cavities. So long as the fluoride is constant and food is warded away after eating, your teeth are on the winning end!

It can clean your teeth.

Water also helps to wash residue away, just like saliva does. So, any food particles that somehow escape your twice a day brushing routine (which you should be sticking to!) are taken care of by water washing it away. By drinking water, you not only hydrate your body but also flood out your mouth so that residue doesn’t eat at your enamel.

It’s healthy and calorie free!

I mean, isn’t this one of the biggest benefits of water? Drinking water is absolutely essential for your body in the first place, but it’s also healthy in that there are no calories, sugars, or anything else that can harm your dental health or overall diet.