Yellow teeth don’t look as healthy and attractive as a perfectly white smile. Despite that, most people have minor tooth discoloration that isn’t even particularly noticeable. But other people seem to have gotten the shorter end of the stick, and have severe tooth discoloration that cause their teeth to appear yellow or brown. But what causes yellow teeth? Is it simply a case of unfortunate genetics, or it within your control?
Causes of Yellow Teeth
You might have heard that certain foods can cause your teeth to discolor, and that’s true. There are lifestyle changes you can make to prevent your teeth from staining. But apart from diet, teeth can turn yellow for many other reasons. Tooth discoloration can either be caused by extrinsic stains or intrinsic stains.
Extrinsic Stains Causes
Extrinsic stains are a lot like stains on a tablecloth. You’re constantly eating foods with color pigments and, inevitably, some of that color ends up staining your tooth enamel. Even though foods can cause your teeth to stain, you can’t really avoid everything that could potentially stain your teeth. To do that, you’d have to stop eating even some healthy foods. Luckily not all foods and drinks are equally likely to stain your teeth, and some of the worst culprits can be avoided through lifestyle changes.
Some of the main causes for extrinsic staining include:
• Coffee and tea
• Cola and brightly colored soft drinks
• Red wine
You don’t have to stop drinking hot beverages, red wine and cola entirely, but it’s best to cut back on your intake. In truth, any foods that are colorful can stain your teeth, even healthy ones. This would include tomatoes, pomegranates and other bright fruits. Obviously, it’s better to eat and be healthy than to live on only white foods so you teeth don’t stain. Brushing twice daily and taking care of your oral hygiene can help to prevent stains.
Intrinsic Stains Causes
Intrinsic staining is a bit more complicated. It’s not the same as a tablecloth stained by food. Instead, it’s more like when things naturally discolor with age. With intrinsic stains, what causes tooth yellowing isn’t something else staining the tooth. Instead, the tooth naturally becomes dull-looking.
Unlike with extrinsic staining, tooth yellowing through intrinsic staining can be caused by a variety of things, not only diet and lifestyle.
The causes of tooth discoloration can be:
• Thin tooth enamel
• Tooth wear
• Certain medications, especially antibiotics
• Dental fillings
As you might have noticed, you can’t control discoloration that’s been caused by intrinsic stains as easily. Surprisingly enough, taking antibiotics as a child is a common cause of tooth yellowing. Children who took antibiotics before the age of eight are more likely to have yellow teeth as adults. Other medications that can cause teeth to yellow include prescription mouthwashes for gingivitis and some prescription drugs used to treat acne.
How to Whiten Yellow Teeth
There are many products out there to whiten your teeth. While many of these products can lighten extrinsic stains somewhat, none of them are effective for whitening intrinsic stains. The excessive use of home tooth whitening kits can also cause tooth sensitivity, so even if you do have some success whitening your teeth with kits, you should avoid using them too regularly.
The best way to whiten yellow teeth (regardless of what caused the discoloration) is to visit your dentist for a tooth whitening treatment. Not only are the tooth whitening treatments from your dentist safer for your teeth – meaning you don’t have to worry about increased tooth sensitivity – seeing your dentist to deep bleach your teeth can be much more effective than years of home bleaching.
Deep bleaching is effective even if your teeth have yellowed with age, or if antibiotics caused your tooth discoloration. It’s the quickest, most reliable way to get pearly white teeth without having to constantly spend money one products that aren’t very effective.
What If I Have Veneers?
If you want to whiten your teeth, but you’re also considering getting crowns or veneers placed, it’s best to whiten your teeth beforehand. Unless you aren’t all your teeth done, dentists match the color of crowns and veneers to your natural teeth. If you whiten your teeth before getting a crown or veneer, your crown or veneer will match your newly whitened teeth instead of being a bit yellow. If you already have crowns and veneers, you’ll need to replace them after whitening so they’ll match your whitened teeth.
One of the best things about white teeth is being able to smile with confidence. There’s nothing quite like a smile to boost your own self-confidence and the confidence of people around you!