by Dr. Stephanie Vera DDS
One of the most common questions asked by our patients is: What causes yellow teeth? The next is: How do I have a whiter, brighter smile?
For some people, maybe they’ve always wanted to make a more impactful first impression. Perhaps the teeth have darkened with time, or maybe darkly colored foods and drinks have caused stains to accumulate on the surface of the teeth.
Just like we all have different hair and skin tones, people also have different colored teeth. Some teeth have a gray or pink color, while others appear more yellow. No matter what your natural shade is, many various factors can affect the color of your teeth.
One of the leading causes of yellow teeth is the thinning of the enamel or the outer-most layer of the tooth. When the enamel thins, our eyes can more easily see the yellow dentin layer underneath, which gives our teeth a darker appearance.
Thinning enamel can be caused by erosion from acid reflux or acidic foods and drinks. Abrasion from using a hard toothbrush or coarse toothpaste can cause enamel to thin. Enamel wear caused by clenching and grinding can make the teeth appear darker. And enamel defects during tooth formation can also cause the enamel to thin. Often, a combination of all these factors occurs with the natural aging process, resulting in feeling like your teeth have darkened as you’ve gotten older.
Staining causing yellow teeth
Another common cause of tooth discoloration is staining. Two types of stains can occur – extrinsic or surface stains, and intrinsic or internal stains. Extrinsic staining can be corrected with regular dental cleanings to remove built-up plaque and tartar. It can also be fixed with tooth whitening products designed to remove dark residue from regular coffee, wine, tea, and tobacco use. Intrinsic stains occur during tooth development so teeth whitening would not be able to correct this. The most common causes of intrinsic stains are tetracycline (a common antibiotic), fluorosis (due to high levels of fluoride), and trauma or injury to a tooth.
In conclusion, there are many causes for yellow teeth, which can be unique for each person. Some of us naturally have darker colored teeth naturally. But some of the most common causes of yellow teeth is thinning of the enamel due to our oral habits, how we treat our teeth, or developmental defects of our enamel. Extrinsic staining due to built-up plaque, tartar, and stains from food, coffee, tea, and tobacco use is also a common cause for our teeth yellowing. This can be treated by regular dental cleaning and teeth whitening treatments. Intrinsic staining that occurs during tooth development like those caused by medications, fluorosis, or trauma to a tooth cannot be corrected with whitening. Come in and see your dentist to find excellent treatment options for correcting these types of tooth discoloration.
If you want to get rid of yellow teeth and get a whiter smile that you can be proud of, come in to see us today. Together we can find the best treatment option for you to get your smile looking brighter and healthier!