Does tea stain your teeth?

Yes it does!

You might ask why and how? To better understand the answer to that question, you must know different types of tooth discoloration. Tooth discoloration may happen from the outer surface (extrinsic) or inner surface (intrinsic) of the tooth. Intrinsic tooth discoloration is the most noticeable form of discoloration. To better understand why, you should first know the anatomy of a tooth. A tooth comprises three main structured including enamel, dentin and pulp respectively from the outside surface of the tooth to the center. Enamel is really thin and translucent and reflects the color of the underlying dentin which is much ticker than enamel and is responsible for the overall color of the tooth and tends to have a more yellowish hue than enamel.  The pulp is located in the center and contains blood vessels, connective tissue and nerve fibers and has a pink hue to it. The tooth color is affected by the thickness of enamel and dentin and their composition which is in tern influenced by genetics, race and gender. Females tend to have lighter teeth than males and baby teeth tend to be lighter than permanent teeth. The tooth color can subsequently be changed by intrinsic factors such as medication and diet when the tooth is being formed or by extrinsic factors such as colorful drinks and food such as tea, coffee, turmeric, wine, beets, carrots, tobacco, betel,  and so on.

A very common form of intrinsic discoloration is caused by an antibiotic called tetracycline. Consumption of this medication during the time of development caused permanent discoloration of the dentin which is very difficult to correct. Excessive consumption of fluoride is also another reason for discoloration of  the tooth which is in the form of white or yellow spots on the surface of the teeth. Another reason could be trauma to the tooth which results in dying of the tooth and bluish/black discoloration of the tooth from inside.

There are different shade guides in the market helping us determine the color of the teeth. The shade of the teeth has been standardized using alphabets from A to D based on the mail hue of the tooth and each alphabet has been subdivided based on the lightness/darkness of the tooth in that category as follows:

A1 – A4 (reddish-brownish)
B1 – B4 (reddish-yellowish)
C1 – C4 (grayish shades)
D2 – D4 (reddish-grey)

Tooth whitening is a very effective approach to lighten the teeth. It could be done in the office or at home and will usually give you satisfying results. The most popular in office whitening is called zoom whitening and we offer that in our office at a very good price.




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