Why Have My Teeth Been Losing Their Whiteness?

Oct 02, 2023
Why Have My Teeth Been Losing Their Whiteness?
Have you noticed that your teeth are dull and don’t seem as white as they used to be? It happens to all of us eventually, but why? Read on to learn why your teeth lose their luster and what you can do about it.

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry services, and for good reason. When it comes to capturing the attention of a crowded room or conveying confidence, nothing does it better than a beautiful white smile.

So when your bright smile starts to dull, it’s natural for you to search for the best over-the-counter whitening products or services to restore your smile’s brightness. In this blog, our own Ginger Rome, DDS, at The Dentists at North Cypress in Houston, Texas, explains why teeth dull and what you can do to fix it. 

Dull, lackluster teeth explained
To better understand why teeth get dull, we need to take a step back and examine the basic anatomy of teeth. Most of us are familiar with the outer layer of our teeth called enamel. Dental enamel is almost entirely composed of minerals and is the hardest material in the body.

This strong outer layer acts like a protective shield, keeping bacteria from entering the inner layers, and also gives your teeth that luminous, pearly-white appearance. Despite its sturdiness, enamel is vulnerable to natural wear and tear from the constant bombardment of acidic foods and drinks as well as chewing and biting.  

Tooth discoloration and staining

Extrinsic stains
A vast majority of dullness and loss of tooth whiteness comes from extrinsic stains. This category of staining or discoloration happens on the surface of dental enamel and inconveniently results from eating and drinking some of our favorite acidic drinks and foods like colas, wine, coffee, and tea, as well as starchy foods, berries, and food containing tomato sauce. Tobacco stains also fall into this staining category.

Intrinsic stains
Over time, the results of a well-lived life can wear down and thin out enamel, which allows the next layer of your teeth, called dentin, to show through. This type of staining or discoloration is called intrinsic stains. Intrinsic stains can also result from excessive fluoride consumption, trauma from injuries, and some medicines like tetracycline antibiotics.  

Age-related stains
Similar to intrinsic stains, age-related stains cause teeth darkening or discoloration as a natural byproduct of time and teeth doing what they do best – biting, chewing, or grinding. When it comes to intrinsic and age-related stains, the discoloration or staining isn’t surfacing stains on your enamel. Your dental provider may recommend brightening your smile using cosmetic dentistry treatments like bonding or veneers.

Teeth whitening products are not created equal

If you’ve ever decided to tackle your dull, stained teeth, you know that do-it-yourself over-the-counter whitening products can differ. The DIY route can often be frustrating as you play an endless guessing game over what products to try and how often you repeat them to get results. 

While all whitening products and services work on the same principle – a whitening agent composed of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide gets applied to teeth triggering a chemical reaction that lifts stains or discoloration – all products are not created equal and the results can differ. 

When it comes to DIY whitening products or even some in-office professional whitening, a big part of the issue is that by the time the products reach the store’s shelf or your dentist’s office, the whitening agent may have lost some of its effectiveness.

KöR® Whitening System

At The Dentists at North Cypress, we address this “lost effectiveness in transit” issue out of the equation entirely by using the KöR® Whitening System. KöR Whitening is the first company to institute a door-to-refrigeration protocol for teeth whitening products. This unique system also includes a scientifically designed application practice to eliminate the guessing game.

KöR Whitening is an in-office chairside custom whitening tray system and a take-home whitening kit for touch-ups. Your dental provider starts the treatment by covering your tongue and gums with a protective sheet. Then they apply the KöR Whitening gel to the surfaces of your teeth. Your enamel absorbs the gel immediately since the ingredients boost your enamel’s ability to absorb more oxygen. More oxygen translates to more stain-fighting power.

Your dentist repeats the steps until you reach your whitening goals and sends you home with your whitening kit so you can maintain your bright smile at home.

If your teeth have lost their brightness and you want to find out what whitening options are best for you, contact The Dentists at North Cypress in Houston, Texas. Make your appointment by calling or scheduling an appointment online today.