Why do our teeth turn yellow?

Tooth anatomy

The tooth is made up of,

  • Enamel which is the hard outside layer of the tooth
  • Dentin which is the layer below the enamel
  • Pulp which is the soft area in the center of the tooth where the nerve and blood vessels can be found

There are two different reasons why teeth become discolored.

Extrinsic causes include yellowing from coffee, wine, soda and smoking.

Intrinsic causes occur when the dentin becomes discolored.

  • This can occur when pregnant woman take certain antibiotics such as Tetracycline.
  • Previous trauma to the tooth can also cause discoloration.
  • A damaged tooth may lead to a dying or decaying tooth which becomes discolored.
  • A dentist may be able to help with tooth decay but the discoloration may be permanent.
  • Discolored teeth can also occur when there is too much fluoride exposure when a child is young.

Combination of extrinsic and intrinsic causes. Aging will cause the teeth to discolor. As we age the enamel gets thinner allowing more staining. The dentin is also more visible as we age which gives the additional appearance of discolored teeth

Prevention of tooth discoloration.

  • Brush the teeth after wine, coffee and soda. If this is not possible try either rinsing with water or drinking water to dilute the substance that can stain teeth.
  • Frequent dental visits will allow for cleaning and detection of problems with the tooth that can lead to decay and discoloration.

Treatment of discolored teeth

Professional cleaning twice a year can help remove extrinsic stains. Visiting a Vista, CA dentist for example, might be a positive way of having your teeth whitened if you live locally to them. There are loads of dentists who can help you out with your teeth though, and there are many different methods that some dentists will use to help whiten your teeth. For example, some dentists might use something like this Zoom Teeth Whitening method to sort you out. If you would like to know more about teeth whitening then it might be a good idea to double check first with your dentist to see how they would do it.

Whitening. The ADA describes two types of whitening

  1. Peroxide-containing bleaching agents. Carbamide peroxide is used in many bleaching products. Carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea. Tooth sensitivity can occur with these products. According to the ADA “On rare occasions, irreversible tooth damage has been reported. Patients should be cautioned that not enough information is available to support unsupervised long-term and/or repeated use of bleaching products.”
  2. Whitening toothpaste can help polish and remove stains. They contain chemicals that can help “grab” the stain, a process known as chelation. Some of these whitening toothpastes carry the ADA seal

Lasers-Lasers are usually used with peroxide. Most studies have reported no additional long-term benefit with light-activated systems (reference ADA).

Look for products that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance which means these products have been studied. These products have been studied using double blinded studies that show no change in enamel or concern for toxicity.

One such product is Opalescence PF 10% Teeth Whitening 4pk (Latest Product)

There are some natural products on the market Natural Whitening Tooth & Gum Powder with Activated Charcoal, 2.75oz – Spearmint Flavor (Prime)

Teeth may be sensitive after whitening. Consider,

Holding off on further whitening for a while and using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth (and gums).

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