While having brown teeth is generally considered a cosmetic affair, it doesn't always mean that the discoloration is due to overzealous tea or wine drinking. In some cases, you may also be harboring a serious health (oral or otherwise) problem. If you have brown teeth, then you should also investigate whether you have:
There are several diseases that can attack and discolor both your teeth's enamel (teeth covering) and dentin (the material underneath the enamel). According to Right Diagnostics, examples of such diseases include:
- Kernicterus—a rare condition of high levels of bilirubin (compounds resulting from the breakdown of blood color) in the blood.
- Alkaptonuria—a disease characterized by high accumulation of homogentisic acid in the body.
- Porphyria—a group of diseases characterized by excess production of porphyrin (organic compounds that give the blood its color).
Apart from diseases, physical trauma can also discolor your teeth. For example, you may get stained teeth after falling off a bike or getting hit by a hard object during a fight. The impact ruptures dental blood capillaries causing blood to leak into the dentin, which is porous.
The discoloration can occur right away, in which case it is easy to associate with the trauma. In other cases, it may occur long after the accident. In this case, it may not be easy for you to relate your discolored teeth with the accident that caused it.
Tooth pigmentation can also be caused by dental plaque, which is the buildup of bacteria on your teeth's enamel. Although dental plaque is unsightly, that is not the only thing you should worry about. If you don't remove the plaque, it may affect your gums, teeth-supporting bones and eventually lead to teeth loss. Plaque is caused by poor oral hygiene, irregular visits to the dentist and sugary foods.
Lastly, your dentist should also examine if you are dealing with fluorosis. Fluorosis occurs when you drink too much fluoride, and it causes pitting and staining on your teeth. It develops when you are growing up, during the formative years when your permanent teeth are still under the gums.
Therefore, if you have discolored teeth, you should talk to your dentist to help you diagnose the cause of the discoloration. If it is something that can be corrected, then you should correct it first before undergoing cosmetic dentistry, to prevent the problem from returning after your procedure. That way you stand a higher chance of maintaining your pearly whites for a long time.