The Many Causes of Yellow Teeth (And How To Prevent It)

Posted: August 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

A frequently asked question of our staff at Dream Smile Dental   (from across our servicing area: Boston, Quincy, Brookline and CANTON) revolves around the yellowing of teeth. Our hearts pour out to each and every person who has ever commented that they hate their smile due to what they believe are "ugly teeth".  However, we also celebrate those lives we help improve by converting their lost smile into something that they can be proud of.  This blog post is dedicated to the subject of yellowing teeth and the most common causes and most successful prevention tips.

Unfortunately, some teeth are simply yellow in nature. The vast majority of natural teeth deviate in large measure from the desired "pearly whites" that we all seek.  If you are uncertain if your teeth are naturally yellow or significantly stained, check your teeth for variations in color.  If your teeth vary in color or shades of yellow, then they are probably stained and a routine cleaning will make a world of difference.  If you teeth are solidly the same color of yellow, then it's time to dig deeper into potential causes.

Tetracycline, an antibiotic, can cause discoloration of teeth in children, making them appear blotchy. Doctors now realized this side-effect of Tetracycline and actively seek other types of antibiotics for pediatric applications.  Public and/or natural water sources high in fluoride, although helpful in the fight against cavities,  can cause tooth discoloration.  In fact, many medical treatment can have detrimental dental effect.  When discussing medical options, dental considerations, especially when involving children, are absolutely things to actively consider.  For adults, the aging process will naturally introduce increased yellowing with time.  Remember from a previous blog post where you learned that underneath your tooth enamel is a material called dentin. Dentin is naturally yellow, and as you age your tooth enamel becomes worn down, exposing the dentin. Again, it is natural for your teeth to undergo color change with age.  

However, the good news is that, in most cases, the primary contributor to rapid yellowing are behavioral and thus controllable in large degree.  Discoloration is most often caused by food, drinks, and tobacco staining the surface enamel of the tooth. Smokers almost always have yellow stained teeth, as well as people who drink large amounts of coffee. Soda and tea are also common contributors.  Although these are the main culprits, any type of food can stain your teeth if they are not properly brushed. So let's talk briefly about the things you can do to keep yellowing at a minimum.

The best thing is simple good daily dental hygiene. Dental hygiene is one of the most important things you can do to prevent stained teeth. You should be brushing at least two or three times a day. Using mouth rinse will help also as they have plaque fighting substances which, in combination with brushing can help drastically. Remember, the longer that a food or beverage remains in contacts with your teeth, the better chance you have of them turning yellow. Ideally, you would want to brush your teeth within an hour of eating or drinking anything that may stain them. You also need to remember to have dental cleanings at least once a year. Avoiding beverages that might stain your teeth is your best bet, but if you must have your soda, consider drinking it out of a straw and chasing it with a glass of water. And of course, don't forget that through the skill of our cosmetic dentistry staff, Dream Smile Dental can completely turn your smile around in as little as a single visit.

Finally, get your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year.  If it has been more than six months since your last cleaning, then call us and we'll increase both the brightness and frequency of your smile.  

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