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You probably know that food, beverages and tobacco products affect the pearliness of your teeth, and the best solution is good oral hygiene. What you may not know is that dull smiles can be caused by lesser-known factors that have nothing to do your oral hygiene. Here are five factors that could affect the brightness of your teeth:

1. Age

Teeth will naturally darken as you get older. Over time, the white enamel layer weakens and dentin—the darker, softer area underneath—begins to show through.

2. Medication

Certain medications (eg, antipsychotics, blood pressure regulators and antihistamines) darken the teeth when used frequently. Iron supplements sometimes stain the teeth of children, and women who take tetracycline while pregnant may have babies with darker teeth.

3. Tooth trauma

Injury to your tooth may cause discoloration because your body will protect the affected area by creating more dentin, which is darker than the enamel.

4. Illness

Metabolic diseases that affect the enamel of your teeth often cause discoloration. Children who suffer from high fevers while their teeth are still forming may experience changes in tooth color.

5. Fluorosis

It’s important to consume fluoride in order to maintain a healthy smile. However, children who consume too much fluoride—especially while teeth are still forming under the gums—often develop fluorosis, or the appearance of white streaks on their teeth. Fluorosis is not a disease, nor is it deadly. In fact, often times fluorosis is undetectable by anyone except dental professionals.

If you have further questions about tooth discoloration, contact Dr. Drew Hines at 704-366-3526. Feel free to schedule a teeth whitening appointment with Drew Hines, DMD, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and regain your dazzling smile.