You’ve always been a good kid… followed every piece of advice, serious or trivial, that your parents ever gave you. They asked you to study well, so you did. They asked you not to accept chocolates from strangers, so you didn’t… mostly. They asked you to brush your teeth regularly, so you went Kung Fu on your teeth and brushed them twice, or even three times a day.
Still, after years of taking good care of your teeth, there always comes a day when you notice that they’ve turned a shade of yellow!
Believe me, there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing your teeth turn yellow, especially when you think that you generally take good care of them. People who take dental hygiene seriously know exactly what I am talking about.
So why do teeth turn yellow? And more importantly, what can be done to undo/prevent it?
A little something about teeth…
Teeth are made up of four main tissues: enamel, dentin, cementum and dental pulp. The yellowing of teeth is visible on the outside, so it clearly it affects the outermost layer first, i.e., the enamel. It is the strongest substance in the entire human body and gives your teeth their characteristic white color. It is the weakening and discoloration of this part of the teeth that is the major cause of yellow teeth.
There are many reasons for the discoloration of teeth; listed below are just a few of them:
One of the leading causes of yellowing of the teeth are alcoholic drinks (like red wine) and coffee (black), as they do great damage to your teeth coloration. Besides these, sports and energy drinks, soft drinks, and even certain colored fruit juices can’t be ignored when it comes to contributing to teeth discoloration.
Certain food items, such as popsicles, curry, ketchup and colored candies cause extrinsic yellowing/staining of teeth. Even certain organic foods, such as raspberries and blueberries. can cause discoloration of teeth.
This is one factor that you can’t really do much about. The two genetic defects that cause the improper growth of teeth and potentially lead to yellowing/discoloration are Amelogenesis Imperfecta and Dentinogenesis Imperfecta. In simple words, some people just have teeth that are more likely to get yellowed than others.
This is another out-of-your-control reason for yellowing. The enamel coating of the teeth thins with age; it’s very solid and thick when you’re young, but continues to deteriorate as you get older. You can certainly delay/slow down the thinning process, but preventing it entirely…
Prevention for teeth yellowing
Since lifestyle is arguably the greatest contributor to teeth discoloration, a bit of tinkering with your dietary habits can go a long way to prevent yellowing of the teeth. First of all, avoid or at least limit certain drinks (e.g., red wine, black coffee and various colored drinks and juices) that are surefire causes of yellowing.
Saliva is said to be a natural defense against enamel staining, cavities and corrosion, so you want to make sure that the amount of saliva in your mouth is regulated. To do that, drink plenty of water. A more targeted approach to avoid yellowing would consist of swirling a sip of water inside your mouth after meals. Also, consider drinking a few sips of water after you’ve had a beverage like a soft drink or fruit juice.
Last, but certainly not least, you must maintain proper dental hygiene. Floss your teeth after every meal, and yes, don’t forget to follow the advice that every parent in the world gives to their children…