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What Causes Teeth to Yellow?

Teeth are naturally an off-white in color. Contrary to what's shown in toothpaste commercials, regular, healthy teeth aren't super white. They are protected by a thin film called the tooth enamel which prevents bacteria from penetrating their inner portions. Your off-white teeth may turn yellow as you age but it also largely depends on the type of diet that you have. While it shouldn't become a source of anxiety, having unusually yellow teeth may cause some to feel uncomfortable and conscious. You might ask yourself "Why are my teeth yellow?" despite having a regular dental care routine. Instead of thinking which part of your dental routine you might be doing wrong, how about changing your habits and becoming more conscious of the products that you consume? There are various reasons why your teeth turn yellow despite religiously brushing your teeth. Let us count the ways.

Smoking's the culprit

Smoking causes yellow teeth because nicotine, although barely visible, is yellow-tinted. Imagine yourself smoking at least one stick daily for 10 years. Everything that you consume with your mouth passes through your teeth and since nicotine is invisible to the naked eye, you can't really tell if you’ve fully removed all of it after you've brushed. Your cigar contains different poisonous chemicals such as ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and carbon monoxide. These chemicals change their properties once they are lit. The smoke from the cigarette passes in and out from the mouth and leaves residue on teeth that causes a yellowish discoloration after some time.  

Coffee, red wine, and black tea makes teeth yellow

The combination of these three colors don't exactly make yellow, but when you consume them regularly, you may be at risk of having your teeth turn that shade sometime in the future. Apart from these three products mentioned, your teeth can also become discolored if you're fond of eating or drinking food with heavy synthetic or natural food coloring. Coffee, wine, and tea have a natural tannin component which gives off a dark color or stain on the surface of your teeth.  

Your Tooth Enamel may be wearing off

When your tooth enamel is at its thickest, it is off-white in color but when it gets thinner, portions of the dentin may appear. The dentin is naturally yellow, so when the protective layer wears off, your teeth starts to appear yellowish as well. This is the reason why most older people have yellowish natural teeth. The decrease of the thickness of the tooth enamel is a natural part of growing older, but if you're fond of consuming acidic and corrosive beverages such as soda, you will be speeding along the process. To protect your tooth enamel, limit your consumption of sugary food as they may be converted into acids that corrode your enamel. Your toothbrushing habits should also be checked. While not brushing your teeth puts your dental health at risk, over brushing it is equally dangerous, especially if you use a hard-bristled toothbrush. Keep your brushing at a regular frequency and pace and use a soft-bristled toothbrush instead if your dentist recommends it.  

What to do?

  Are you worried that your teeth are starting to show some discoloration? If you find yourself guilty of one or more of the habits mentioned, you might want to consider changing them to save your teeth from turning a somewhat embarrassing shade. Junk the food items that result to yellowish teeth and go for something that strengthens your tooth enamel like those with a high calcium content and fiber.   Having discolored teeth could affect your self-esteem but here's the good news: it's not too late! While a structurally damaged tooth is nearly impossible to restore naturally, your tooth enamel can be brought back to serve as protection to your dentin.  Do yourself a favor by quitting all your old habits that damage your tooth enamel. Quitting early will help your saliva to remineralize your enamel naturally.  

Dental Visit

  It's always good to complete your regular dental appointments and let your dentist know the challenges you encounter with your dental health.  Your dentist will give you a guided idea of what to do if teeth discoloration or other dental health problems arise. For example, if you've discovered that it's too late to restore your tooth enamel naturally, your dentist may recommend a remineralizing gel. Since the frequency of the usage and amount of gel you should put depends on how severe the problem is, it is necessary to see your dentist before attempting to self-medicate.   Natural teeth isn't super white but their color should be somewhat on the lighter shade. If you don’t know how to solve your teeth discoloration problem, visit a dentist specializing in restorative procedures such as VPreston Dental for some professional advice. A complete dental assessment will inform you about everything you need to know about your yellowish or discolored teeth and how to reverse this process.