Many people find themselves in a bind as their teeth lose their luster and appeal over the years. There are two basic reasons why your teeth turn yellow over time. Either your teeth get stained, or they lose their outer protective layer, known as the tooth enamel. Here are some examples of the most common reasons why your teeth turn yellow:
Plaque & tartar buildup
It could be that your teeth appear yellow simply because there is too much plaque buildup on them. A simple dental cleaning can remove this buildup and fix your problem, giving you a whiter and brighter smile in no time. If you haven’t seen a dentist in a long time, a dental cleaning should be your first step towards achieving a whiter smile.
Nicotine, cigarette tar, and other tobacco products stain teeth and turn them yellow. The longer you’ve been smoking, the darker and yellower your teeth will appear.
Certain foods & drinks
Food products containing certain additives stain and darken your teeth. Drinking coffee and tea regularly can turn teeth yellow over time. Red wine, colas, fruit juices, berries, and many spices also contain additives that stain teeth and turn them yellow.
Acid destroys your tooth enamel and exposes the much darker underlying layer, resulting in permanently yellower teeth. Carbonated sodas, fruit juices, and other acidic foods can destroy your enamel over time. If you can’t kick your soda habit, then be sure to at brush your teeth frequently and drink lots of water to wash away the acids. Acids can also be found in your stomach. This acid is very corrosive and wears out teeth rapidly. Frequent regurgitation, as evidenced in bulimics or those suffering from acid re-flux, destroys the tooth enamel and turns your teeth yellow. If you vomit, be sure to brush and clean your teeth thoroughly so that your teeth are not exposed to your stomach acids for prolonged periods.
Grinding your teeth destroys and damages your teeth. Heavy teeth grinders wear away their tooth enamel and expose the underlying tooth structure, causing their teeth to appear darker.
As we age, we gradually lose some of our protective enamel layer. Again, this makes your teeth appear yellower and less attractive.
Now that you understand why your teeth turn yellow, let’s examine how you can whiten your smile. First, let’s take a closer look at what it takes to be a good candidate for teeth whitening procedure:
Poor Candidates for Teeth Whitening
Only your dentist can determine if you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening treatment. The effectiveness of teeth whitening depends on the cause of your teeth turning yellow in the first place. If your teeth have turned yellow for any reason other than internal staining, then they will not respond too well to whitening treatment. Here are some examples of cases that don’t qualify as good candidates for whitening treatment:
Lots of existing dental work
Teeth whitening doesn’t alter the color of your existing dental restorations, such as dental fillings and crowns. Consequently, if your mouth contains lots of existing dental work, especially when located on your front teeth, you should consult a dentist prior to starting a whitening regimen. Otherwise, you may end up with an undesirable mismatch between your natural teeth and those with an existing dental restoration on them.
Teeth whitening isn’t effective if your teeth have turned yellow due to the loss of the protective enamel layer. This happens due to prolonged exposure to acidic products, teeth grinding, wear and tear, or the result of aging. These cases are not good candidates for teeth whitening and they should look into cosmetic dentistry treatments with dental bonding or porcelain veneers instead.
You teeth may appear yellow if they are covered with plaque and tartar. A professional dental cleaning can remove these stains and significantly whiten your smile. Be sure to improve your brushing and flossing habits moving forward to maintain the results over time.
Good Candidates for Teeth Whitening
The best candidates for teeth whitening treatment are those whose teeth have turned yellow as a result of coffee, tea, red wine, etc. The whitening gel penetrates your teeth surfaces and breaks down internal stains to significantly brighten your smile. There are many different ways to whiten your smile including take-home custom trays, whitening toothpastes, Crest whitestrips, and professional teeth whitening at your dentist. Consult with your dentist to learn see if you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening treatment.