Whitening strips, whitening trays, whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes, professional whitening treatments, veneers. There are so many different ways and options for a whiter smile. Many people desire a more dazzling white smile, but with so many options, it can be overwhelming to select what is best for you without talking to a professional. Naturally, patients frequently ask for tips and recommendations to brighten the shade of their teeth. But why do teeth turn yellow in the first place?
What Kind of Stains Are There?
There are two different types of stains that can alter the color of your teeth: surface stains and internal stains. Surface stains are generally caused by different aspects of your lifestyle, including the foods and drinks you consume, your dental routine, and if you are a smoker.
Internal (or intrinsic) stains develop within the structure of your tooth (known as the dentin) and cannot be altered by certain at-home whitening treatments. A variety of different things, such as medication or injury, can affect the dentin and its appearance.
How Can My Lifestyle Affect My Teeth?
The main cause of discolored teeth is your lifestyle choices. From the foods you eat to the way you clean your teeth, a lot of things have the potential to stain the surface of your teeth. If you would worry about a particular food or drink falling on a shirt and staining it, it has the probability of staining your teeth as well.
Many of your favorite foods or drinks, especially dark-colored ones, can leave stains on the surface of your teeth. Spaghetti sauce, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, sodas, beets, wine, and coffee all have a high probability of staining your teeth. For some of these, it would be difficult to avoid them altogether. But it may be best to limit your teeth’s exposure to them if you want whiter teeth.
Anything that is acidic not only wears down the enamel of your teeth. They also make it easier for your teeth to stain. Coffee and wine are very acidic, so you may notice your teeth staining easier after consuming them. The acid wears down the enamel and helps the stains bind to your teeth.
A poor oral health routine can affect the color of your teeth as well. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly, it will be difficult to keep a white smile. You are also putting yourself at risk of developing tooth decay or gum disease.
Consuming tobacco is another way that you can stain your teeth. Not only is it bad for your overall health, but it is bad for your teeth. Whether you smoke or use chewing tobacco, you will find your white smile turning yellow.
What Else Can Discolor My Teeth?
The natural color of the dentin is a yellowish color. If the enamel is damaged, the dentin becomes more exposed, which gives a yellow appearance. Normal wear may expose the dentin over time and with age, but grinding your teeth (bruxism) can quicken this process. If you experience some sort of trauma or injury to a tooth, it can damage the internal structure and lead to discoloration.
There are certain medications—some antibiotics or even antihistamines—that can alter the color of your smile from within your teeth. Patients who have gone through chemotherapy or radiation have noted a change in the color of their teeth. Sometimes, it is as simple as a genetic cause to the color of your teeth.