There are several causes to having stained teeth. Tea, coffee, cigarettes, sweets with color dye, red wine, soda and more can contribute to your teeth becoming darker or getting stained. "Soft" areas of your teeth, from enamel erosion or decay, can get stained much easier.
When talking of sweets, if your tongue changes color then you can probably be assured that those sweets are also affecting the color of your teeth. Drinks like red wine and coffee can stain a carpet pretty badly, right? Well, the same can definitely occur with your teeth. How do cigarettes stain your teeth? Well, tar and nicotine have a very dark color, and they can get stuck to your teeth over time. Now you may know what I mean by several things causing stained teeth. There are a lot of food and other things we consume that have coloring or things in them that produce color.
I've seen more staining on parts of the teeth that are a bit "chalky" looking. These were cases of the enamel getting "soft" because of erosion or decay, or in some instances, where braces were attached to the teeth. These areas can absorb staining materials much easier than the hard, porcelain-like surrounding area of your teeth.
How Do Stained Teeth Affect Us?
Well, there are some interesting stats on the USA's view of their teeth, cosmetically speaking, published by the AACD (The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry):
For instance, did you know that almost all adults (about 99.5% of them) believe a smile is definitely an important social asset to have and that about 96% of adults think that having an attractive smile is more appealing to members of the opposite sex?
About three-quarters of adults also feel an unattractive smile can hurt your chances of career success.
When asked upon survey, the most common response to the question "What would you like to improve most about your smile?" the most common response was, "Having whiter and brighter teeth."
With the above facts a nice place to start would be getting a tooth whitening. It has the benefit of making your teeth whiter and brighter, which in turn can have the affect of making your smile more attractive, to yourself and to others. In fact in terms of expense and efficacy, the biggest "bang for your buck," in my opinion, would probably be getting your teeth whitened professionally. It's a simple, effective method of providing your teeth with a cosmetic enhancement.
The actual procedure itself is pretty simple. The individual doing the whitening would first ensure that your surrounding gums, soft tissue, lips etc. are protected from the product they are using. Then they would simply apply the whitening product, sometimes activating a light (depending on what type of whitening is done), and allowing the product to begin the work of removing years of stain from your tooth surface. In a lot of professional whitening procedures the doctor will allow for several applications of the whitening product (I've seen up to 3 in one sitting). Afterwords, they will make sure the teeth and mouth are clean of whatever product is being used in the whitening, remove that protective barriers covering your gums and surrounding tissue. Then of course, they allow you to see the change.
Not so bad for an improvement against stained teeth, right? In fact there will be someone supervising the whole process to ensure your needs are met in terms of comfort as much as possible.
If have darker, stained teeth it really would benefit to get a whitening. I've seen some staggering results from professional application. In some cases I've seen up to a 3-7 shade difference in "whiteness." I've seen almost grey teeth become natural-looking white. Cases obviously differ, but as I mentioned before. It really would be the biggest bang for your buck, at least, as far as I've personally witnessed. If you feel the need to improve the shade of your teeth, give it a shot!