Yellow Teeth: Is It Normal Or A Genuine Concern?
Are yellow teeth normal?
If your teeth aren’t a pearly shade of white, it’s easy to feel disheartened. Maybe you brush twice a day, floss religiously, and even use a whitening toothpaste, and yet still have slightly yellow teeth. Apart from being frustrating, should you be worried about yellowing teeth?
While teeth naturally yellow as we age there are ways to prevent and restore your teeth to a brighter shade of white.
Are yellow teeth a sign of poor oral health?
It’s understandable to think that yellow teeth are a sign of bad oral health. What many people don’t know is that teeth naturally come in many shades, from white to cream and even light yellow.
Yellow teeth can also be down to your genetics. While tooth enamel is naturally white, the dentine below is slightly yellow. People with naturally thinner or translucent enamel will generally have yellower teeth as the dentine is more visible.
Trauma and infection can also be a symptom of yellow teeth. Advanced tooth decay can breakdown the pulp, damaging the tooth root and turning the tooth grey. Trauma to a baby tooth can also cause an adult tooth to appear more yellow if the enamel hasn’t formed properly.
Can you prevent teeth from yellowing over time?
While genetics and time will influence the colour of your teeth, your lifestyle also plays a big part in keeping your smile white. What you eat, drink and smoke can thin the enamel, revealing more of the dentine below. You can prevent your teeth from yellowing further by:
Limiting foods that stain
Coffee, tea, wine and dark-coloured fizzy drinks can be absorbed by tooth enamel. Coffee and tea contain tannins that stain while red wine can roughen the pores within the enamel of the teeth.
Avoiding food and drinks high in acid
Tomatoes and citrus fruit such as lemons and oranges are high in acid which can erode and soften tooth enamel. Soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks should also be limited as these can dissolve enamel over time.
Nicotine and tar can cause your teeth to stain. While nicotine is colourless, it’s the presence of oxygen which can cause stains on teeth. Quitting tobacco products like cigarettes, pipes and cigars is good for your oral health in lots of ways but will also improve the appearance of your teeth.
Should I brush my teeth straight after drinking or eating to prevent yellowing?
While it’s tempting to brush your teeth straight after drinking coffee or orange juice, it’s best to wait thirty minutes after drinking before brushing.
Waiting at least half an hour allows your saliva to neutralize the pH in your mouth. Otherwise, you risk brushing the acids in these drinks into your tooth enamel causing unnecessary damage. Drinking water after coffee or orange juice also helps to remineralise tooth enamel.
When should I see a dentist about yellow teeth?
While teeth can change colour naturally, it’s okay to want whiter teeth. If you don’t like the colour of your smile you should see a dentist. If your teeth have changed colour quickly, or you’ve noticed discoloration in one tooth, it’s a good idea to book a dental appointment right away. This could be a sign of an underlying problem.
Can I whiten my teeth at home?
There are lots of whitening products on the market but not all of them are created equal.
Whitening toothpastes, pens, strips and at-home whitening trays are often ineffective and will only remove surface stains from your teeth. What’s worse is that some of these treatments can damage your tooth enamel, cause tooth sensitivity and irritate your mouth and gums.
Some whitening toothpastes even contain tiny granules which can irritate the gums, causing them to pull away from the teeth.
What are the best treatments for whitening teeth?
The best way to whiten your teeth is visiting a dentist for in-practice whitening treatment. During treatment a dentist will apply a whitening gel to the teeth and sometimes uses an LED light to activate the hydrogen peroxide in the gel, depending on which product is used.
In-practice teeth whitening is one of the fastest, most effective ways to improve the appearance of your teeth. The treatment lasts around an an hour to hour and a half, and most patients will notice instant results. You’ll need to have a pre-whitening consultation to make sure your mouth and gums are healthy enough to go ahead with treatment.
If your teeth are naturally yellow, you may not be a good candidate for teeth whitening. In this case your dentist may recommend a cosmetic solution such as veneers. Veneers are thin porcelain layers attached to the teeth’s surface.
If you’re worried about the colour of your teeth, book a consultation with Gentle Dental. We’ll talk through your options for safely and effectively whitening your teeth.