Teeth that are regularly cleaned are supposed to come out white. Teeth that aren’t as clean as desired can turn yellow. The most common culprits of yellow teeth are the regular ingestion of cigarettes and coffee (so old-timey gumshoes as seen in Film Noir probably have the yellowest of teeth, which makes it fortunate that their movies are usually black and white).
Aside from stains, thin tooth enamel can also make your teeth look yellow. If you have enough tooth enamel on your teeth, they’ll end up hard and white on the surface. The dentin under the enamel is pale brown. If your enamel is so thin that it’s transparent, that can cause the yellow hue of your teeth.
What Are the Other Causes Yellow Teeth?
Aside from the two most common reasons for yellow teeth, here’s a list of other reasons for your teeth discoloration (which should give you a rough idea of what to do or how to prevent the yellowing of your teeth):
- Poor Dental Hygiene: If you don’t brush your teeth enough or neglect flossing or proper rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash to remove stain-producing substances and plaque, your teeth can end up discolored.
- Certain Mouthwashes: Ironically, observing proper dental hygiene by using mouthwashes can lead to yellow teeth as well, but only if you use products that contain cetylpyridinium chloride or chlorhexidine.
- Antibiotics and Other Medications: One of the side effects of taking antibiotics (like doxycycline and tetracycline) is blotching or yellow patches on your teeth, particularly when you take them before the age of 8 years.
You can also end up with yellow teeth by taking drugs for high blood pressure, antipsychotic drugs, and antihistamines like Benadryl.
- Excessive Fluoride Intake during Childhood: Try brushing with bottled water from time to time if your area has fluoridated tap water to cut down on your fluoride.
- Genetics: Sometimes, the presence of yellow teeth simply runs in the family like a predisposition for diabetes or cancer, especially when it comes to the thickness of your enamel.
- Food and Drinks: Aside from coffee, your teeth can also be stained yellow through excessive ingestion of certain fruits and vegetables (like potatoes and apples), wines, colas, and tea.
- Disease and Old Age: Diseases that affect enamel thickness and the underlying dentin can lead to discolored teeth. The treatments for certain conditions can also lead to yellowing teeth (such as chemotherapy and neck radiation).
Furthermore, the older you get, the thinner the enamel of your teeth. The enamel’s outer layer can also be worn down by the simple wear and tear of using your teeth continuously for years and years.
Fixing or Preventing Yellow Teeth
Regular brushing and avoidance of the above mentioned teeth-yellowing products (like coffee, tobacco, soda, and tea) can keep your teeth white. Meanwhile, teeth cleaning and polishing usually go hand-in-hand to really keep teeth discoloration at bay.
If you’re going to debride your teeth of tartar through teeth scaling and polishing, then you might as well clean out those very same teeth with brushing and removal of plaque or bacteria-filled film for good measure. A combination of cleaning and scaling can also help you heal from the early to advanced stages of periodontal disease.
Teeth whitening procedures are also available to bleach your teeth to whiteness, but this can come at the cost of teeth sensitivity for some. Your approach to whitening your teeth depends on whether it’s stained or whether there’s not much enamel left on it. Consult your dentist for more details.
Thantakit International Dental Center is Thailand’s longest established dental center. Situated in Bangkok, our clinic is renowned across the world as a destination for world-class dentistry, with most of our patients flying to us from Australia.
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