Yellow teeth are very common in adults. As we age, the things that cause teeth to yellow begin to add up. Few people are pleased with their yellowed teeth, and few also know what they have done to make their teeth yellow. If you don’t know what’s causing it, you probably keep making the same mistakes that have contributed to your yellow teeth in the first place. You may be inadvertently making your teeth more yellow as time goes on.
Here is what you need to know about how your actions are impacting the colour of your teeth and how you can correct the problem.
Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?
First, it is important to know that there are roughly four natural shades of teeth. While they are all some variation of white, some are darker than others. If you started with a natural shade that you aren’t really happy with, even slight yellowing may bother you, while other people’s teeth handle yellowing without being too noticeable. A certain amount of yellowing is natural with age and not necessarily the result of staining, problems, or other issues.
Next, there are two main kinds of stains that may make your teeth yellow:
- Extrinsic: These stains are created when something external to your body touches your teeth.
- Intrinsic: These stains are caused by something within your body, like a disease or a medication.
Beyond stains, when your enamel wears down, the yellow core of your teeth becomes visible. This means that anything that wears away enamel makes your teeth more yellow, and anything that protects your enamel protects it from yellowing further.
What Makes Yellow Teeth Worse?
There are many different causes of yellowing teeth, including:
- Smoking: Smoking is exceptionally damaging to your mouth and your teeth. Smoking can prevent your mouth from responding properly to threats from bad bacteria, leading to staining and even infections. Preventing proper circulation also impedes the ability of teeth to get the nutrients and immune system support that they need, which can lead to all sorts of problems, including yellowing.
- Certain foods and drinks: Some foods and drinks can cause staining on your teeth – sometimes through tannins or natural dyes, and sometimes by being so acidic that they break down the enamel on your teeth further.
- Certain medications: Some medications are known to have negative impacts on teeth colour, especially when they are given to children. Certain common antibiotics are culprits. Radiation and chemotherapy can also cause yellowing teeth. Your dentist can help you identify if you are on any of these medications, were in the past, and what can be done about them. Sometimes the solution is as simple as switching to a new medication.
- Poor brushing habits: When your enamel wears down, your teeth get yellow. Proper brushing, flossing and teeth cleaning can protect your enamel. So, if you have poor brushing and cleaning habits, you will certainly make your teeth more yellow. You’ll also open yourself up to other risks like tooth decay and diseases.
- Excess fluoride: This one might surprise you. While fluoride in normal amounts, as found in toothpaste, is good for your teeth, if you are for some reason exposed to high levels of fluoride, it can damage your teeth.
- Trauma: Accidents, injuries, and damage to your teeth can end up making them yellow. This is especially true for damage that wears down enamel.
- Teeth grinding: If you grind your teeth, you can do very significant damage, which will also cause yellowing, as the enamel breaks down from the impact.
- Disease: Certain conditions that prevent tooth enamel development or wear it down can also be a primary source of teeth yellowing.
Understanding Food And Drink Sources Of Yellowing Teeth
There is a huge range of foods that can contribute to teeth yellowing, although they do not all yellow your teeth in the same way. High-acid foods wear down your enamel and make the yellow core of your teeth more visible. Other foods have natural dyes which can stain the outside of your teeth, especially if you have repeated exposure to them.
Common foods that can yellow teeth include:
- Pasta sauces
- Acidic dressing
- Red wine
- Many more
If you still intend to eat or drink these foods, how can you lower their impact on your teeth colour? Here are a few strategies:
- Brush your teeth after exposing yourself to these foods
- Use a straw for beverages which may stain teeth to limit the contact with your enamel
- Ensure you don’t miss your teeth cleaning dental appointments
How To Improve Yellow Teeth?
Your dentist is the best person to consult to make a specific plan about how to address your yellowing teeth. Because everyone is different, the specific reasons why your teeth are yellowing will vary from someone else’s reasons. The last thing you want to do is put in time and energy to fix your teeth but find out that you’ve missed the main culprit. Or, put a lot of time into trying to make your teeth whiter and then find out that the best option for you was just a simple teeth whitening treatment.
However, there are lots of things you and your dentist can try to tackle your specific yellow teeth. Some options that can improve your yellow teeth include:
- Better oral hygiene: Keeping your enamel in better condition will always help keep your teeth whiter.
- Lifestyle adjustments: Changing when and what you eat, or seeing your dentist for more regular cleanings can help.
- Dental treatments: There are teeth whitening treatments, veneers and other tooth discoloration treatments which your dentist can explain to you.
Your Dentist’s Solutions For Yellow Teeth