Your face is the first thing most people see about you. If you’ve got a radiant smile, it makes a lot of impact at your first meeting. But if you’ve got yellow teeth, people are going to be put off. Is that fair? No. There are plenty of more important things to judge a person on besides their smile. But it’s the world we live in.
Not only that, but whiter teeth and a brighter smile can give you a boost of confidence. There’s no measure to how much that can be worth.
So, what causes yellow teeth, and what can you do about it? Here’s everything you need to know!
What Causes Yellow Teeth?
Yellow teeth are simply teeth that have been discolored. As you can imagine, there are a lot of different ways this can happen. Here are some of the most common causes:
- Food and beverages. These are probably the number one cause of stained, yellow teeth. Coffee and soda are obvious culprits, but tea, wine, and even oxidizing fruits like apples and potatoes can also cause yellowing.
- Using tobacco. Tobacco stains your teeth. It doesn’t matter whether you smoke it or chew it; it still stains your teeth.
- Some medications. There are several medications that can affect tooth color. For example, the popular childhood antibiotics doxycycline and tetracycline can cause discoloration in younger children. Certain medical mouthwashes can also stain your teeth. Add to that Benadryl and many other antihistamines, several high blood pressure medications, and antipsychotic drugs, and you can see how this is a common problem. Ask your doctor if you think medication might be the culprit.
- Other medical treatments. Some types of chemotherapy cause tooth discoloration, as can head and neck radiation. If you recently had this type of procedure, it might be the cause.
- Too much fluoride. This might be counterintuitive, since fluoride is added to drinking water and toothpaste specifically to strengthen your teeth. It’s true that a fluoride deficiency can lead to weak enamel, but as with all things in life, there is a balance. Too much fluoride can cause your teeth to look yellow.
- Poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth removes plaque and other stains. If you’re not doing these things regularly, it’s not surprising that your teeth will look yellow.
- Disease. There are a wide variety of diseases that can affect the tooth enamel, or even the underlying dentin. In many cases, this causes discoloration. Moreover, some infections in expecting mothers can affect the color of the baby’s tooth enamel.
- Injury. Blunt force trauma to a tooth can cause damage to the internal structure. In extreme cases, it can partially or completely cut off the blood flow. Regardless, this will cause discoloration.
- Previous dental work. There are several dental compounds containing silver sulfide. This compound can sometimes leak out and stain teeth. That said, the stain from silver sulfide is usually black or grey, not yellow.
- Genetics. Some people have naturally bright, white teeth, while other people’s teeth are naturally yellower or duller.
- Aging. The dentin layer beneath the tooth enamel is yellow. As you age, the white enamel wears away, and the yellow color of the dentin bleeds through.
Preventative Treatments for Brighter Teeth
Poor oral hygiene is the #1 cause of yellow or discolored teeth. So before you do anything else, brush up on your brushing. Brush at least twice a day – morning and evening – and floss daily. Also, do anything else your dentist tells you to do. They may have additional steps you can take to keep your teeth nice and white.
Speaking of your dentist, it’s important to visit them regularly. Some plaque buildup is inevitable over time, and your dentist’s special tools are well equipped to take care of it. According to Dr. Edita Outericka, dental director of Dynamic Dental:
"It's best to have your teeth cleaned regularly by a professional. This will help remove staining. Also, drinking through a straw will minimize the time that fluids stay on the surfaces of teeth. You can also rinse your mouth out with water after consuming foods or drinks that may stain, if brushing afterwards is not possible.”
In addition to ordinary cleanings, dentists can also perform more complex procedures to whiten your teeth. If you think you need professional help, ask your dentist about your options.
Another way to prevent tooth yellowing is to pay close attention to your diet. Avoid foods like beets and red wine that can easily stain. And needless to say, smoking is also a bad idea. If you needed another reason to quit, now you have one!
What If My Teeth Are Already Yellow?
If your yellow teeth are purely a cosmetic problem, you might be able to handle the problem at home. There are a variety of home remedies for yellow teeth, including basic foods as well as consumer products. Here are a few of them.
Use a Whitening Toothpaste
We’ve already talked about the importance of brushing your teeth every day. So, why not whiten your teeth while you’re brushing them?
That said, some whitening toothpastes contain bleach, which can damage your teeth. If you want to whiten your teeth safely, use an all-natural alternative like Dr. Brite Extreme Whitening Toothpaste. It’s all-natural, so you’re not putting a bunch of artificial chemicals into your mouth.
Use a Sulfate-Free Whitening Tray
A whitening tray is a simple tray you fill with whitening gel. Then you bite down, hold it in your mouth for a few minutes, and presto! Your teeth are instantly whiter. At least, that’s the general idea. Your individual results may vary.
As with a whitening toothpaste, you want to be careful about bleach and other chemicals. The Dr. Brite Pre-Filled Teeth Whitening Tray is all-natural, like all Dr. Brite products. It also contains no sulfates, further protecting your tooth enamel.
Use a Whitening Pen for Spot Treatments
Of course, you don’t always want to whiten your entire mouth, and oftentimes those stains come from different causes. This is where Dr. Brite’s specialized oral care pens really come in handy!
- Coffee & Tea Teeth Whitening Pen: Helps erase and prevent stains from your favorite morning (or afternoon or even evening) beverage of choice!
- Red Wine Teeth Whitening Pen: With chamomile for no sensitivity, you can enjoy that deliciously rich cab, worry-free.
- Smoke & Vape Teeth Whitening Pen: Hemp-based enamel protection to keep your smile from getting dull.
In this case, why not whiten your entire mouth? A whitening pen allows you to make spot treatments exactly where they’re needed. If that’s what you’re looking for, consider the Dr. Brite Teeth Whitening Pen. You guessed it! It’s all-natural!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has a natural whitening effect that has been known for centuries. It can be used as a gargle or mouthwash, but make sure to dilute it in water first! Otherwise, it’s liable to burn your mouth.
In addition, we should point out that apple cider vinegar can have a corrosive effect. We haven’t seen any research on apple cider vinegar gargling in particular. Until more is known, it’s a good idea to use this method sparingly, just to be safe.
At-Home Citrus Peel Rub
Some people use lemon or orange peels as a tooth whitener. The idea is to remove the peel, then gently rub it on your teeth for about two minutes. Afterwards, you rinse.
The concept here is similar to the apple cider concept, and citrus-derived compounds are indeed used in many toothpastes and mouthwashes. That said, rubbing citrus peel on your teeth has not been scientifically proven.
On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to try. If it works, you’ve whitened your teeth for the price of a bag of oranges. If not, you’ve still got a bag of oranges.