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The teeth whitening solutions from the drug store can be harmful to your health. But it's still nice to have pretty, white teeth. Here's everything you need to know about safely and effectively whitening them at home.

The appearance of teeth contributes a great deal to our image. Everyone wants a nice set of white sparkling teeth. This is the reason why many people whose teeth are discolored strive hard to brighten their smiles. However, one must understand the type and cause of staining they have before going through any process of making their smiles more luminous and whiter. The types of tooth discoloration include the following.

Intrinsic Staining

This type of staining is when the dentine (inner surface) of the tooth gets a yellow tint or darkens. This discoloration is caused by too much exposure to fluoride, tetracycline antibiotics during childhood, physical trauma to a permanent tooth causing internal bleeding which discolors the tooth, or having dentinogenesis imperfecta which is a rare condition. This causes discolorations that are gray, amber or purple.

Extrinsic Staining

This is when the staining of the tooth is on the outer surface (the enamel). This kind of staining is mainly caused by foods.

Acidic foods- these include tomatoes and citrus fruits like lemons. These foods are colorful, super nutritious but they erode the enamel therefore exposing the dentine.

Coffee and tea- This is quite a bummer for caffeine lovers. Coffee and tea contain tannins that alter the pH balance in the mouth. This means that any extra acidic food snacked on will fasten the damaging of teeth. Tea is however a little different: green tea gives teeth a grey tint and black tea gives them a yellow tint.

Sugary foods and drinks – Those cookies, candy and sodas that we all love, will drill some holes into your poor whites. I know this sounds a little melodramatic but it is true. After eating sugars, they latch on to your teeth and when bacteria feed off these sugars, they produce acids that cause tooth decay.

Wine- Red wine takes away the white in your smile by adding a grey tint. These kind of stains are harder to remove than the yellow stains. Tannins that are also in beverages such as coffee and tea are responsible for this. However, red wine does not entirely spell gloom and doom, it prevents tooth decay to some extent. White wine on the other hand darken the stains further. The acidity of this drink allows other beverages to move in deeper into the tooth structure.

Tobacco- Smoking cigarettes exposes your teeth to nicotine which also causes an intrinsic stain. 

Age-Related Stains

These are caused by a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. In the natural, teeth will yellow over time. The dentine gets exposed because the enamel becomes thinner with age.

Effects of Tooth Discoloration

A luminous, white set of teeth can boost your self-confidence while having teeth that are discolored can create a huge dent in your self-esteem. Discolored or mis-aligned teeth make people avoid smiling at all cost because they feel embarrassed about their smiles and the opinion of other people concerning their oral imperfections just makes them have a very low self-image of themselves. These people also avoid being around others and therefore do not learn how to be friendly and social. Poor social skills such as lack of eye contact when interacting is also another effect of having discolored teeth; these people therefore miss a lot of non-verbal cues because they often look away.

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