Everyone dreams of having pearly white teeth as models from magazine covers and celebrities. However, the reality is completely different, you have a slightly dull or yellowish tooth color. You can have this color due to a number of reasons that can affect the color of affect the color of your teeth and turn them that dreaded yellow hue.
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Most causes of tooth discoloration fall into two main categories, such as extrinsic and intrinsic stains. Yellowing of your teeth can also be caused by a wide array of health factors, from medication use to inadequate brushing. Well, let's deal with all aspects and learn how to maintain a bright smile!
#1. Extrinsic stains
The fact is, extrinsic stains affect the surface of the enamel, which is the hard, outermost layer of teeth. However, do not worry, because these stains can typically be removed or corrected.
“The No. 1 cause of teeth yellowing is lifestyle. Smoking, drinking coffees and teas, and chewing tobacco are the worst offenders,” said Dr. Justin Philipp of J. Philipp Dentistry in Chandler, Arizona.
For example, the tar and nicotine in tobacco are chemicals that can cause yellowish stains on the surface of teeth. Also, any food or drink that can stain clothes can also stain your teeth. So, pay attention to foods and beverages, such as red wine, colas, chocolate and dark sauces (soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, spaghetti sauce and curries) because they can discolor teeth.
What’s more, even some fruits and vegetables, such as grapes, blueberries, cherries, beets and pomegranates have the potential to stain teeth. These foods are high in chromogens, pigment-producing substances that can stick to tooth enamel. Your favorite popsicles and candies can also stain teeth.
Liquid forms of iron supplements can stain teeth, but there are some ways to prevent or remove these stains. You should carefully take care of your teeth: brush them in the morning and in the evening, visit the dentist regularly, rinse the oral cavity.
#2. Intrinsic stains
Intrinsic stains occur within the inner structure of the tooth, called the dentin, making these stains more difficult to remove. You can have intrinsic stains on teeth because of numerous medications. For example, when children take the antibiotics tetracycline or doxycycline while their teeth are still developing (before the age of 8), their teeth may turn brownish-yellow.
What's more interesting, women who take tetracycline after the fourth month of pregnancy or while breastfeeding, can cause a child to have discolored baby teeth.
Using prescription-strength mouthwash, which contains chlorhexidine, a compound that can reduce bacteria and treat gingivitis, can cause brown discolorations on teeth.
In addition, dental treatments may also cause teeth to darken. “Many dental materials can cause discoloration, especially amalgam restorations (silver fillings),” said Dr. Bruno Sharp of Sharp Dentistry in Miami, Florida. These can give the tooth a gray-black tinge, according to The Cleveland Clinic.
#3. Additional Causes
We have already dealt with two main causes that cause discoloration of the teeth, but let's not forget about other culprits, such as genetics, age, illness and injuries. There are many reasons why some people may have a yellow coloring to their teeth.
“The No. 1 reason is genetics. Dentinogenesis imperfecta and amelogenesis imperfecta are two inherited disorders that cause the teeth to develop improperly and could lead to discoloration,” said Dr. Edita Outericka, the dental director at Dynamic Dental in Mansfield, Massachusetts.
Another reason is heredity. You may simply be born with teeth that appear more yellow (or whiter) compared to other people's teeth. “Part of this has to do with the thickness of your enamel, which is semi-translucent. If you have thin layer of enamel, the true color of your naturally yellowish dentin will show through,” said Outericka.
What’s more, the color of your teeth can also be affected by illness. Yellowing can occur after suffering a high fever at a young age due to an infection. Severe neonatal jaundice is another possible reason for teeth yellowing.
#4. Prevention and Treatment
How can you prevent yellow teeth? The best option is paying attention to what you eat and drink, and not smoking. You should also practice good dental hygiene and visit a dental professional at least twice a year.
“It’s best to have your teeth cleaned regularly by a professional. This will help remove staining. Also, drinking through a straw will minimize the time that fluids stay on the surfaces of teeth,” Outericka said. You can also rinse your mouth out with water after consuming foods or drinks that may stain, if brushing afterwards is not possible.
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If you are not satisfied with the color of your teeth, you can visit the dentist. “There are numerous treatments that can be performed which could lead to a bright white smile!”, Outericka said.
The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!
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