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Your oral health is just as important as any other aspect of physical health. Though medicines are intended to be safe treatments for major or minor health problems, it’s important to understand their potential adverse effects on oral health. We will look at the question can oral medication really stain your teeth?
Some medicines can stain teeth during development and cause intrinsic discolorations once they are fully formed, while others can make the teeth more susceptible to tooth decay. Listed below are medications that have proven effects on tooth discoloration.
Certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline and its derivatives, doxycycline and minocycline, can cause tooth discoloration when taken before teeth are fully formed. This write-up on tetracycline explains that chemicals like tetracycline bind to calcium ions in mineralizing teeth, which then deposits stains within the enamel.
Once the stained teeth erupt fully, they appear yellow. Prolonged sunlight exposure can even cause these discolorations to turn brown or grey. In addition, tetracycline can also erode the enamel, thus causing tooth decay.
The intensity of staining also depends on the length of treatment and the administered dosage levels. Generally, more exposure leads to a higher degree of staining. This kind of tooth discoloration occurs most commonly in children, but infants in utero are at risk if tetracycline or its derivatives are taken during pregnancy.
Discolorations caused by medication can be harder to treat and might require the input of a professional.
One common side effect of antihistamines and antihypertensive medications is dry mouth, a condition characterized by limited saliva production. An article on dry mouth explains that having a limited supply of saliva can increase the risk of tooth decay.
This is because one of the functions of the saliva is to cleanse the mouth, and without it, nothing can remove the harmful acids, plaque, and food remnants that end up staying on your teeth.
Proper oral hygiene can help prevent the discoloration caused by dry mouth. Dry mouth causes the mouth to lose its natural cleanser, so it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene. Make a habit of flossing regularly, and make sure to rinse the mouth and brush thoroughly after every meal.
Dry mouth only increases an already existing vulnerability to decay, which means it’s important to be wary of the other causes of discoloration, such as food and drink. Our previous post about tooth whitening tips explains that drinks with high acidity levels, such as coffee and red wine, can soften enamel, thus making teeth more susceptible to stains.
Foods like tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, gravy and soy sauce, can also break down enamel.
However, this article on teeth whitening products explains that because the damage is mostly external, discoloration caused by food is easier to treat than discoloration caused by medicines like antibiotics (in which the damage is internal). In these cases, whitening products can help remove stains.
Whitening products usually use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to penetrate the enamel, which allows them to get at stains down to the dentin layer.
It’s important to seek alternatives to medicine that cause discoloration to the teeth. Tooth whitening products can cure if the damage has already occurred and cannot be treated with store-bought whitening products, it’s best to seek the insight of a professional.
If you’re looking for a great way to improve your smile and be dazzling whiter then why not book a teeth whitening appointment for one hour with instant results at star whitening. You can also call us on 01702 742 077 to book your treatment in.
Article was specially written for starwhitening.co.uk by Annie Conner
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