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What Causes Green Tooth and Other Tooth Discolouration?

Having a great smile is a confidence booster. Clean white teeth often equal a great smile. Green and stained teeth do not. If you have stain problems, here are some things to know and to do.

Types of Teeth Stains

You might be familiar with some types of tooth discolouration, but -- believe it or not! -- people really can have green teeth, too. Stains can be caused by a number of different factors relating to your health and lifestyle habits.

Extrinsic Stains

These stains occur on the surface of your tooth. They are typically the result of an external source, such as the food or drink you consume.

  • Common culprits include red wine, black and green tea, or dark-coloured foods like blueberries.
  • Prescription mouthrinses used to treat gum disease can also cause discolouration by leaving a dark residue on teeth.
  • Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco can also cause extrinsic staining.

Your oral hygiene habits will have a big impact on the severity of staining. It’s important to brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily. You should also keep up with regular professional dental hygiene appointments.

Intrinsic Stains

This type of discolouration comes from inside the tooth. These are some of the things that may cause intrinsic stains:

  • Antibiotics such as tetracycline and liquid amoxicillin.
  • Trauma to the tooth.
  • Fluorosis, a condition caused by ingesting too much fluoride when the permanent teeth are still developing.
  • Dead tooth happens when a tooth becomes injured and can’t repair itself.
  • According to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), teeth naturally darken with age.
  • The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) also notes that radiation and chemotherapy can cause tooth staining and discolouration.

Intrinsic stains are often grayish. Neither good oral hygiene nor professional polishings will remove intrinsic stains.

Green Tooth

Green tooth is a less common type of intrinsic stain that affects infants. Babies who have jaundice may develop green pigmentation on their baby teeth. According to Allied Academies, this prenatal development type is rare, with only about 50 cases a year. The baby teeth will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth that are not green.

Teeth and gums that appear green in adults can be caused by a build-up of stains, bacteria, and fungi. This is extrinsic and caused by poor oral care. Improving your daily routine and having professional teeth cleanings can remove these types of green stains.

If you want a great smile, make sure your teeth are as white as they can be. Stains and green teeth are often caused by lifestyle choices and sometimes are due to health issues or medications. Knowing what is causing your teeth discolouration is half the battle. To fully clean up your smile, improve your oral health regimen and talk with your dental professional.