This Is Why Your Teeth Are Yellowing

Yellowing teethPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

In the age of the selfie, having a bright white smile is more important than ever. Beyond looking great on social media, a vibrant smile will help you convey confidence and is correlated with greater success in your career and love life. Keep in mind that we’re not talking about those nearly fluorescent “chiclet” white smiles, but one that is a healthy white. At one point or another, most of our teeth were indeed that white, so what happened?

Here’s a couple of reasons why your teeth could be yellowing and some helpful tips to stop this process from happening:

1) Coffee, tea, or wine.
I know, you need your coffee. I’m an avid coffee drinker myself, but bathing those pearly whites in coffee on a daily basis will definitely cause staining. These drinks all have something called tannins, which have been extensively studied and are known to stain the

dental pellicle —a covering that protects your tooth. However, you shouldn’t throw out your Nespresso just yet, a simple habit change will lower your risk of staining dramatically. Instead of dousing your teeth with your beverage of choice, drink it with a straw. At first, some of your friends might make a face, but when their teeth turn yellow, you can give them a bright white “I told you so!”

yellowing teethPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

2) Acidic Fruits
Fruits are great for your health, but some are more acidic than others and can actually damage the white layer of your teeth called the enamel. This acidic erosion can have a thinning effect and expose the underlying yellow layer of the tooth called the dentin. To help stop this process, limit the amounts of acidic fruits you eat or make sure to rinse your mouth vigorously with water right after. Here’s a list of the most acidic fruits and their respective pH (lower means more acidic and a pH of 7 is neutral):

  1.  Lemon Juice (2.00 – 2.60)
  2.  Limes (2.00 - 2.80)
  3. Cranberry Juice (2.30 – 2.52)
  4.  Blue Plums (2.80 – 3.40)
  5. Grapes (2.90 – 3.82)

3) Occlusal Disease
Occlusal disease is a process through which your teeth slowly destroy each other due to a misaligned or improperly balanced bite. The muscles of your jaw are incredibly strong and if your teeth are out of alignment, these muscles can cause force imbalances that your teeth can’t handle. This process can not only cause your teeth to chip or fracture and cause migraines, but will actually wear away the outside layer of white enamel and reveal the inside layer of yellow dentin. To combat this problem and stop its progression, ask your dentist about a nightguard to help stop the wear due to grinding while you’re sleeping. If your malocclusion is more severe, your dentist may recommend ortho in the form of invisible aligners.

These are just a few of the ways that our teeth can yellow and darken over time. The good news is that these processes are preventable and if your teeth have already lost too much of their white vibrance, we have many different ways to bring them back to their prime. These treatments can be anything from in-office bleaching to veneers. At our office, we spend an entire appointment taking pictures and creating a custom smile profile for our patients who are interested in whitening. This allows us to strategically treat their unique smile and ensure that the path we choose is effective the first time.

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