Why do I have yellow teeth?
There are many reasons why someone could have yellow teeth; some people just have naturally whiter teeth, some more yellow, some more grey. In addition to your genetics, tooth discolouration can be caused by:
- Drinking/eating dark-coloured foods and beverages ( black tea, coffee, red wine, etc.)
- Eating and certain fruits and vegetables (eg. blueberries, beetroot)
- Cavities- eating sugary foods and poor hygiene may cause holes in your teeth or changes in the colour of the tooth as demineralisation occurs. Dental caries can present as a slight change in colour or an obvious dark area.
- Drinking/eating acidic foods and beverages- causing the whiter enamel to be lost
- Tobacco (whether smoking, chewing, or dipping)
- Certain diseases and medications during development could affect the appearance of the teeth
- Tetracycline staining- as above, but because it is so common especially in Asian countries we’ve given it its own bullet point.
- Amalgam restorations- If the enamel supporting the filling is thin, you can get shine through that makes the tooth appear darker.
- Age (over time, enamel wears away, allowing the natural yellow colour of dentine to show through)
- Fluorosis- over-exposure to high-fluoride content
- Teeth trauma- this often presents as a dark or grey tooth
- Using chlorhexidine mouthwash for prolonged periods can stain your teeth brown
Simply having yellow teeth is mostly a cosmetic issue unless associated with wear. Different causes of tooth discolouration will require different treatments so it’s really important to establish the cause. As a dentist in Maroubra, we can do this for you and explain what has been going on with your teeth.
What happens when I go to the dentist?
Your Maroubra dentist will first conduct an oral examination to assess your dental health. If they see dental conditions such as decay or signs of gum disease, your dentist should treat those first as a general rule before whitening your teeth. They will ask you lots of questions and carefully check your teeth for signs of problems.
What dental treatments can whiten my teeth?
Depending on your preference and what your dentist deems most suitable for you, your dentist can whiten your teeth through the following treatments:
- Professional cleaning
- In office teeth whitening
- At home teeth whitening
- Composite Bondings
- Porcelain Veneers
- Dental Crowns
What home treatments can I do to whiten my teeth?
Although not as concentrated and as effective as professional dentist whitening products, over-the-counter (OTC) products may provide some benefit when you are whitening your teeth. They aren’t so much alternatives to teeth whitening, generally just a weaker, less effective option with no professional guidance. There are many products that can be easily bought from your local drugstore, you may have the ingredients for some home remedies in your kitchen already.
Some over-the-counter whitening products are:
- Whitening strips- Crest strips are popular in the US but only available through ebay here
- Whitening trays
- Whitening toothpastes
- Paint-on liquids
- Whitening chewing gums
- Whitening rinses
- Whitening gels
There are other home remedies I have heard of, but have never tried. To be honest, I cannot endorse them in anyway- but in case you are curious- I will put them here…
Remedy 1: Rubbing the inside of either a banana or orange peel on your teeth once or twice a day for around two minutes.
Remedy 2: Using a mashed strawberry with a bit of baking soda as toothpaste. After applying the strawberry-soda paste, brush your teeth with regular toothpaste to wash out the acids found naturally in strawberries.
Remedy 3: Applying olive oil to your teeth for two to three minutes before regularly brushing your teeth.
Remedy 4: Using drops of a few fresh lemon juice with a small amount of baking soda as toothpaste. Then, brush your teeth with regular toothpaste to wash out the acids found in lemons.
Remedy 5: Using a salt as a tooth powder instead of your regular toothpaste.
Remedy 6: Drying the leaves of holy basil under the sun then grinding them until it becomes powdery. Then, mix it to your toothpaste when brushing.
Remedy 7: Mixing some charcoal powder into your toothpaste when brushing.
CAUTION- putting anything acidic on your teeth and then brushing can wear away enamel- so use very sparingly. It is not something to be done regularly or acid erosion will result!
Also, adding some fruits and veggies that have natural whiteners to your diet will help whiten your teeth. Check the list below to learn which fruits these are:
What aftercare steps should I do to take care of my whitened teeth?
A routine checkup with your dentist and practicing good dental hygiene by flossing and brushing every day will definitely help keep your ‘pearly whites’ gleaming. This combined with the advice below will make quite a difference. If you have whitened your teeth, topping up with a few sessions of your home whitening kit every few months will also make a big difference.
How can I prevent getting yellow teeth?
Aside from practicing good oral hygiene, these steps can help prevent you from getting yellow teeth:
- Cut back or quit drinking/eating dark-coloured and/or acidic foods and beverages
- Try drinking with a straw when drinking colored beverages
- Quit smoking tobacco
- Visit your dentist every 6 months to have a routine cleaning and checkup
- Rinse with water after eating to wash all the food debris that’s stuck between your teeth
- Make sure you are getting sufficient calcium
- If you have one dark tooth, it’s likely to need a root canal treatment and maybe some internal bleaching to correct the colour.
- Start the habit of eating green leafy vegetables as a starter to your meal, as these can offer some protection from discolouration to your teeth.