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Yellow Teeth: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Healthy Smile. Princeview dentalYellow teeth, also known as tooth discolouration are a common yet easily treatable condition that gradually occurs over time. As you get older the appearance of your teeth will naturally change. Depending on a number of factors including your oral care routine, diet and certain habits, these changes can take place sooner or later in life.

Keep in mind that your teeth have several layers:

  • Enamel (the top protective layer)
  • Dentin (the yellow layer beneath enamel that has a series of microscopic tubes)
  • Cementum (the layer that separates the root and the gums)
  • Pulp (the soft layer of living tissue that sends pain signals to the brain when something is wrong)

As you can see, all of these layers play important roles in terms of upholding the appearance, structural integrity and health of your teeth. Neglecting to administer proper oral care however, can cause potentially serious damage and oral health issues.

If you need a smile makeover, then your best option is to consider teeth whitening treatment. Keep reading to learn more about why your teeth may be turning yellow and what you can do about it.

What Causes Yellow Teeth?

There are several factors that may be causing your teeth to turn yellow.

Age

The underlying layer of your teeth beneath the enamel is dentin. Dentin has a naturally yellow hue. As you get older and your tooth enamel fades away, it slowly reveals the layer of yellow dentin underneath. This is a natural and treatable process. Various treatment options include teeth whitening or placement of dental veneers to cover up yellow teeth.

Eating Too Much Junk Food

You already know that eating too much junk food is bad for your overall health, but it can be especially detrimental to your teeth. Over time sugary foods can cause extensive tooth decay. Sugar molecules mix in with saliva and bacteria in your mouth and this can lead to plaque formation on your teeth. Eventually, plaque will eat away at your tooth enamel and cause cavities in your teeth.

Beverages and foods like red wine, citrusy fruit, coffee, tea and soda can also cause tooth discolouration. The acids in these foods and beverages wear away your natural tooth enamel over time which will eventually lead to minor or severe tooth decay if left untreated.

Smoking

Smoking can have a prolonged negative impact on your oral health. Tar and nicotine in cigarettes and chewing tobacco can cause extensive and sometimes irreversible tooth decay in addition to staining your teeth.  People who have been smoking for a long time may even have either dark yellow or brown stained teeth. Eventually, the countless toxins found in cigarettes will rot your teeth and some of them may even fall out.

Poor Oral Care

Neglecting your oral health is one of the most prominent contributors to tooth discolouration. While approaching advanced age can lead to natural tooth decay regardless of how well you care for your teeth, failing to take care of your oral health can accelerate the tooth decay process. Particles from all of the food and beverages you consume combined with your rising gastrointestinal acids can erode your tooth enamel over long periods of time, eventually revealing the natural yellow dentin underneath. Additionally, some foods and beverages can also stain the surface layer of your teeth, causing them to look a dark yellow or brown colour.

Fluoride in Water and Toothpaste

Generally speaking, water and toothpaste that are fortified with small amounts of fluoride can help whiten your teeth. However, overexposure to fluoride (fluorosis) can actually cause tooth discolouration in young children whose teeth are still in the development phase during the first 8 years of their lives. This usually only occurs where fluoride is naturally occurring at a higher than normal level than when fluoride is added to city water.

Genetics

The layer of dentin under your enamel is naturally yellow. Some people have a naturally thin or translucent layer of enamel, which is why their teeth appear to be yellow. Others lose their enamel over time due to various factors. Therefore, in some cases yellow teeth can be attributed to your genetic predisposition.

How to Prevent Yellow Teeth

The simple solution to prevent yellow teeth or tooth discolouration is to practice good oral hygiene. Take good care of your teeth and you will reap the health and aesthetic rewards!

Keep a Good Oral Care Routine

Brush your teeth twice a day—once in the morning and once in the evening—to remove excess food particles and kill bacteria in your mouth. At minimum, you should also be flossing once in the evening to remove excess food particles in hard to reach places between your teeth. Add in a little alcohol-free mouthwash to kill even more tooth decay-causing germs and bacteria and you’ve got a winning combination to stave off tooth discolouration for as long as possible.

Rinse Your Mouth Out

It’s not always possible for you to brush your teeth or floss after every meal, but rinsing your mouth out with water is a good substitute. Swishing water around your mouth for a few seconds after a meal will help remove a good amount of leftover food particles in your teeth.

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Mixture

Homemade toothpaste consisting of one tablespoon baking soda and one tablespoon hydrogen peroxide has been proven to safely clean teeth and remove surface stains. Alternatively, you can also mix in a little more water to make a mouthwash. Make sure to rinse your mouth out thoroughly afterward.

Activated Charcoal

A number of toothpastes that are currently on the market contain activated charcoal. You may have even seen some of the ads on your social media feeds. Activated charcoal is a naturally absorbent substance that cleans your teeth by eliminating bacteria and removing stains.

Schedule Regular Teeth Whitening

Visiting the dentist every four to six months is the best way to prevent tooth decay and maintain perfectly healthy white teeth. Your dentist can administer deep cleaning and whitening techniques using state-of-the-art dental equipment to guarantee prolonged mouth health.

Located in the heart of the Kingsway neighbourhood in Etobicoke, Princeview Dental Group is proud to provide professional teeth whitening and cleaning treatments to all of our patients. Book your appointment today!

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