By Sharon L. Mossman, RDH, EdD
The polishing of natural teeth and restorations is integral to the standard prophylaxis performed by dental hygienists. While the factors involved in stain accumulation have changed, patients still desire the clean, smooth feeling provided by polishing at the end of the dental hygiene appointment. Dental hygienists should be well versed in the causes behind staining, the correlation between oral pH and dental erosion, and appropriate polishing choices for different patient types. As the typical American lifestyle has undergone much change over the past few decades, so has the status of tooth discoloration. Dietary and social habits greatly impact dental stain accumulation. Smoking tobacco/marijuana and chewing or dipping tobacco obviously affect extrinsic stain formation, but chemical agents may also play a role in the complexity of stain buildup. The use of stannous fluoride, antibiotics, and chlorhexidine, as well as exposure to iron in drinking water impact the color and intensity of extrinsic stain.1 Dietary changes include an increase in the amount and frequency of consumption of stain-producing and acidic beverages, such as coffee, tea, wine, and sports drinks.
* References can be found in the original article via the link below.