Why are my teeth yellow or stained?


Dental Concepts Blog

Why are my teeth yellow or stained?

What a great question that is, tooth staining is a common concern and it may range from having yellow teeth to slightly brown teeth or you may just find you have patches of staining. There are a couple of common culprits for discoloured teeth and we’ll go through these together.

Tooth discolouration can indicate decay, trauma or even tooth death, and once this has occurred it cannot necessarily be reversed. As we age our enamel can thin, which causes our teeth to become duller in colour or even appear more yellow, as the thinning enamel exposes the dentine layer of the tooth below, which is yellow. However, your teeth do likely have some surface level staining causing them to be darker in colour, yellow stains on teeth for example can be a result of food staining, smoking, tea and coffee.

What actually causes tooth staining?

Chromogen is a chemical compound that can readily turn into a dye. This compound is found in richly coloured food and drinks, and if you think a type of food is likely to stain your clothes it will most probably stain your teeth too. Highly acidic drinks also cause enamel to thin, leaving you more vulnerable to staining.

Now, if you’re looking to go from yellow teeth to white, there are a couple of things we need to do.

  1. You can visit your dentist for a hygiene appointment. Dentists and hygienists have access to some wonderful pieces of equipment, which by simply professionally cleaning your teeth can lift stains.
  2. After you have had your teeth professionally cleaned, you can opt for dental grade tooth whitening. Teeth whitening can be either at home or in a chair, many dentists even opt for a combination of the two, but you can expect your tooth shade to lift significantly. The dental grade is the best teeth whitening option you can select, your dentist should also be able to predict and guarantee a certain shade or result. DIY whitening products, although cheaper, can give varied results, can damage your teeth or even give a patchy outcome.
  3. Lifestyle change, uh oh. That’s right, it may just be time for a lifestyle change. Even if you professionally clean and whiten your teeth, the longevity of such treatments is based entirely on how you look after them. If you are a smoker, you will experience a much higher rate of discolouration, it is also common you’ll see brown stains between teeth. For those that drink a lot of coffee, tea and wine you will also be susceptible to discolouration, to avoid this you can opt to clean your teeth around an hour after you have drank any staining drinks.
    If you’re too big of a fan of coffee to reduce your consumption, we recommend swapping to a slightly milkier version! The same can be said for staining foods, which are typically richly coloured food. If you find that staining is a big problem in your life you want to adjust some of the things you consume, and also visit the hygienist a little more frequently.
  4. Drink more water. Sounds simple right? Drinking more water can help us to keep a hydrated and clean mouth.
  5. Another way to protect yourself from staining drinks is to use a straw, of course, this isn’t a good idea with hot drinks, but you may avoid some contact with the liquid and this can help to reduce the amount of tooth discolouration you experience.
  6. Maintaining good oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day is essential and can help to remove stains.

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