Many people have off-white or yellow teeth, and discoloration can be caused by several different factors. Some of these are in your control, and some factors are not. If you notice your teeth aren’t as white as they once were, here’s how to get rid of yellow teeth.
Dispelling Common Yellow Teeth Myths
Before focusing on how to get rid of yellow teeth, it’s first important to understand what yellow teeth aren’t an indication of. And, there are a couple of common myths surrounding discolored or yellow teeth.
First, teeth aren’t actually white even though most people think of them as white. Dentin is a material in teeth that’s harder than bone but softer than enamel. It’s responsible for part of a tooth’s structure — and it gives teeth a naturally off-white hue. Dentin itself is a yellow tissue, and it can make teeth look yellowish depending on how much is present in a particular tooth.
Second, yellow teeth aren’t necessarily a sign of poor oral health. Dentin and other causes of yellowing may have no significant impact on the health of teeth or the rest of the mouth. They also aren’t always a symptom of poor oral health.
What Causes Yellow Teeth?
In addition to naturally occurring dentin, there are several other potential causes of yellowing. There are three common causes of yellow teeth.
First, diet can make teeth look more yellow as the pigments of drinks or foods stain teeth over time. Coffee, tea and red wine, in particular, can cause teeth to yellow. This is especially true if they’re consumed daily or multiple times a day.
Second, poor oral hygiene certainly can cause yellowing — and this is one cause that can contribute to poor oral health. To keep poor hygiene habits from causing teeth yellowing, you generally should brush at least twice per day, floss at least once per day and have your teeth cleaned by a dentist regularly (usually every six months). Your dentist might have slightly different recommendations based on your particular health and habits.
Third, simple aging can also contribute to teeth yellowing. Aging can exacerbate any other issue that’s causing yellowing, such as diet or poor oral hygiene. Dentin concentration in teeth also increases with age, leading to a natural yellowing as people get older.
How to Get Rid of Yellow Teeth
If you have yellow teeth and would like to whiten them, there are both do-it-yourself and professional whitening methods. Prior to using any of these methods, however, you should first be seeing a dentist every six months for scaling and polishing. This is both a preventative measure to reduce future yellowing, and it can help remove surface plaque on the teeth.
The most common DIY teeth whitening methods involve using baking soda or a commercial whitening toothpaste.
To use baking soda, mix a few drops of water with a 1/2-teaspoon of baking soda until you have a paste. Apply this paste to your teeth via toothbrush or finger, and let the paste sit for a couple of minutes. After about two minutes, rinse the baking soda off by gargling water.
To use a commercial toothpaste, simply choose a whitening toothpaste and brush like normal. These toothpastes have baking soda or another whitening agent included in their formulation.
The most common dentist-provided whitening methods include professional whitening treatments and veneers.
Professional whitening treatments use expertly applied whitening agents to brighten and lighten teeth color. These can result in extremely bright teeth, or the whitening can be to a lesser degree.
Veneers are thin coverings that a dentist places over the front teeth, which is the portion of the teeth that are visible. These don’t actually change the color of the teeth, but they create a white look that can be further customized.
If you have yellow teeth, there are several ways to reduce the discoloration. Talk with your dentist about whether a DIY or professional teeth whitening is best for your situation.
Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 847-6000