It’s understandable to want a pearly white smile, but how do you know if the colour of your teeth is actually an indicator of poor oral health?
All teeth have some degree of yellowish colouration because the inner layer of your teeth, called dentin, has a yellow hue. The dentin inside your tooth shows through the outer layer of your teeth, called enamel, giving your teeth a slightly yellow appearance. It’s important to understand that the colour of teeth varies from person to person and can be influenced by genetics.
What Causes Yellow Teeth?
Some individuals may naturally have teeth with a yellowish tint, and this is not necessarily an indication of poor oral health. On the other hand, if you notice a sudden change in the colour of your teeth, it’s worth paying attention to, and you should visit your dentist.
There are several factors that can contribute to yellow teeth.
Poor Oral Hygiene
One of the most common causes of yellow teeth is poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush or floss regularly, plaque and bacteria can build up on your teeth, which can cause yellowish stains and discolouration.
You can practise proper oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time, flossing regularly, using mouthwash, and visiting your dentist for regular dental cleanings.
The food we consume can contribute to yellow teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, and soda can stain your teeth over time. Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, can wear down your tooth enamel and cause discoloration.
To prevent yellow teeth due to diet, you can try to limit your intake of stain-causing foods and drinks or brush your teeth soon after consuming them. Adding more water to your diet can also help wash away food particles that cause stains.
Another cause of yellow teeth is smoking. Tobacco and nicotine can cause yellow teeth and bad breath, gum disease, and other oral health problems. If you smoke, quitting can help improve the appearance of your teeth and your oral health. Not to mention, quitting smoking can have a positive impact on your overall health and well-being.
Your genes also play a role in the colour of your teeth. If your parents have yellow teeth, your teeth may look similar. In this case, it might be harder to prevent or reverse the discolouration.
However, there are many dental treatments that can help, such as teeth whitening, bonding and veneers. It’s best to schedule a consultation with your dentist to determine the best treatment plan for you.
As we age, our teeth naturally become less white and more yellow. This is because the enamel on our teeth becomes thinner over time, revealing the yellowish dentin below. In addition, our teeth can also accumulate stains and discoloration from years of eating and drinking.
To prevent yellow teeth due to aging, consider investing in professional teeth whitening or other dental treatments that can help restore the appearance of your teeth.
Some medical conditions, such as gum disease, can also cause teeth to appear yellow or brown. In this case, it is crucial to seek treatment from a dental professional right away.
Another medical condition that can cause teeth to appear yellow is enamel hypoplasia, which is a developmental disorder that impacts the formation of tooth enamel. This can lead to discoloured, thin, or weak teeth that are more susceptible to decay.
Types of Tooth Stains
Tooth stains can be caused by a variety of factors, including age, genetics, and lifestyle habits. The 3 main types of tooth stains are:
- Extrinsic stains: These are surface stains that occur on the outer layer of your tooth enamel. Extrinsic stains are typically caused by food and drink, such as coffee, tea, and red wine, as well as tobacco use.
- Intrinsic stains: These are deep stains that occur within the structure of your tooth and cannot be removed by brushing or polishing alone. Intrinsic stains can be caused by certain medications, or trauma.
- Age-related stains: These are a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic stains that develop over time as your tooth enamel wears down and becomes thinner.
How Can You Fix Yellow Teeth?
Yellow teeth do not necessarily indicate poor oral health, but they can be a sign of underlying issues that require attention. Remember to maintain good oral hygiene habits, avoid smoking, and limit your consumption of foods and drinks that can stain your teeth.When you visit your dentist, they can assess the health of your teeth and determine the underlying cause of discolouration. From there, they may recommend professional teeth whitening treatments or other preventive measures to improve the appearance of your teeth.