Blue or Gray Teeth: Causes and Treatments

For some people, no matter how often they brush and floss, their teeth never turn that pearly white. Teeth that are tinted yellow, brown, gray and even blue are natural for some people and might not be anything to worry about. Occasionally, however, gray or blue teeth can be a sign of a dental problem. The following are all possible causes of blue-gray teeth.

Causes for Blue or Gray Teeth

1. Natural Tooth Color

Teeth naturally come in a range of colors and shades. A natural cause of tooth discoloration is rare genetic condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta, which affects tooth structure and appearance. The tooth enamel can appear blue-gray or yellow-brown, explains the National Institutes of Health.

2. Early Antibiotic Exposure

Exposure to the antibiotic tetracycline while in the womb or as a young child causes discoloration in adult teeth. Affected teeth develop blue-gray or yellow-brown stains, often in a pattern of horizontal stripes. The stains are permanent and regular brushing won't improve them, but cosmetic dentistry may offer a solution.

3. Dental Restorations

Dental restorations can give the appearance of gray or blue teeth. Silver-colored amalgam, glass ionomer, acrylic, and porcelain and metal crowns may appear blue-gray at the surface of the tooth due to the metallic color showing through a translucent enamel or porcelain surface. If the gray or blue teeth are due to silver fillings, a dentist can often re-fill the tooth with a white amalgam.

4. Dead Teeth

When only one or a few teeth turn gray or blue, it might be because the teeth have died. Though you might think of all teeth as lifeless, at their center are living pulp and nerves. As the American Dental Association explains, if a tooth is damaged due to trauma or infection, the pulp and nerves can die and the tooth turns dark pink, gray or black. If you suspect one or more of your teeth have died, book an appointment with your dentist. Bacteria can enter the empty space at the center of a dead tooth and cause an abscess. A badly decayed tooth may need to be removed, but the dentist may be able to save the tooth with a root canal.

Whitening Gray or Blue Teeth

Though whitening treatments often work best on yellowed teeth, they may improve the appearance of naturally blue or gray teeth. Your dentist can explain the results you can reasonably expect from in-office or at-home treatments. Whitening treatments can also improve the color of a tooth that has died. However, tetracycline-affected teeth often bleach unevenly. For these teeth and deep gray or blue teeth, crowns or veneers may give a better result. Whatever the shade of your teeth, brush twice a day with a toothpaste for whitening, like Optic White High Impact White. It's enamel-safe whitening that's good for daily use.

It's easy to become self-conscious about your teeth when they aren't white. You may smile less and worry that people think you don't look after your teeth. Once your dentist checks that your teeth are healthy, they can suggest treatments to improve the color so you can smile with confidence.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.