Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?
White teeth are what many aspire to. Therefore, whitening is one of the most demanded procedures in aesthetic dentistry. Unfortunately, nature has not rewarded everyone with snow-white teeth, and in everyday life there are a lot of factors that lead to a yellow tint. Dentist Julia Lapushkina revealed 7 main factors that lead to discoloration of teeth.
Contrary to popular belief, the color of the tooth is not determined by the enamel, it is translucent. The color of the tooth depends on dentin – the basic substance of the tooth, which has a yellowish tint. Therefore, whitening pastes cannot whiten teeth, they only brighten and, in some cases, can restore the original color.
In fairness, it should be noted that the state of the enamel can affect the color of the tooth: its thinning, imperfection (hypoplasia), and other non-carious lesions can make the teeth yellow, literally brown, but such changes can be traced immediately – during teething.
So what determines the color of the teeth and what factors affect their shade?
1. Genetics and heredity
It is difficult to find two identical teeth in color, even in one person the shades of the teeth vary. For example, towards the cervical region, the teeth are darker, but the incisal edge may be translucent. Initially, the color of the teeth is determined genetically. Doctors talk about the presence of a gene that determines the color of teeth at birth, and it is inherited from the parents.
There are a number of genetic diseases associated with malformations of enamel and dentin, which predispose to the acquisition of yellow, sometimes even brown or black teeth.
Diseases of internal organs and metabolic processes also affect the color of teeth. In the course of the research, the negative impact of thyroid diseases was established.
In general, all factors that can change the color of teeth can be divided into controllable and uncontrollable, that is, it is impossible to avoid and influence them. Age, along with genetics, are factors that cannot be influenced.
The physiological process of aging also manifests itself in the oral cavity – on the teeth. On examination, you can notice the abrasion of the enamel, yellow spots appear on the chewing surface of the teeth – this is dentin. Such changes are characteristic of the entire surface of the teeth; over time, the enamel becomes thinner, the dentin begins to shine through, which affects the color.
In addition, other factors influence which, by the way, can be controlled.
Almost all products and numerous drinks contain pigments that can penetrate into the interproximal space of the enamel and stain enamel and dentin. Hazardous drinks containing aggressive pigments include:
- Black tea;
- sweet soda;
- Red wine;
- Green tea contains pigments that can color teeth yellowish.
- Foods also contain a variety of colorants. First of all, you need to remember about the sources of carotene, a natural antioxidant, but if you abuse such products, your teeth can turn yellow. Therefore, you need to be careful with carrots, tomatoes, and spinach.
Products containing dyes, including natural ones, are dangerous for the whiteness of teeth, and there are a huge number of them, it is not possible to list them all.
Sweets spoil your teeth. Even schoolchildren are familiar with this common truth. But sweets are not only a predisposing factor for the development of tooth decay, but also discoloration of the teeth. Dangerous “sticky” sweets, which form a film on the surface of the teeth, on which bacteria quickly settle and a pigmented plaque forms. The intrinsic forces of the oral cavity cannot cope with such a plaque, that is, it is not washed off with saliva and mechanical action is required – brushing the teeth.
- The “sticky” sweets include:
- baked goods with a high content of margarine;
- shortcrust pastry;
- sucking candies, etc.
Long-term use of certain medications can cause discoloration of the tooth and the formation of a specific dark plaque on the teeth. These drugs include some types of antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and hormonal drugs.
With prolonged use of antiseptic rinses, dysbiotic disorders are recorded in the oral cavity. Such changes are fraught not only with the development of caries, gum disease, but the formation of a darkly pigmented plaque.
5. Dental treatment
Amalgam fillings are still used in some European countries. In terms of strength, this material even surpasses enamel, it so happens that the walls of the tooth around the filling are destroyed, and it stands firmly in its place.
Amalgams are mercury alloys with a specific black-metallic color. Over time, the tooth tissue becomes impregnated with this pigment and it changes in color. In general, there are many filling materials that can cause staining of the tooth: resorcinol-formalin, etc.
Even a tooth injury, when the neurovascular bundle ruptures, stains the tooth in different shades of pink. The appearance of this color can be explained by the soaking of dentin with blood.
Many have noticed that a “dead” tooth, that is, with the removed pulp, eventually becomes gray, loses its natural shine. In some cases, it becomes more yellow.
6. Errors in oral hygiene
The main reason for the discoloration of the teeth, the appearance of a yellow tint is poor oral hygiene. In the absence of full-fledged cleansing, plaque, which forms in the mouth constantly, perfectly absorbs the pigment, and this gives the teeth a yellow tint.
Over time, soft dental plaque mineralizes and turns into stone and it is impossible to remove such formations on your own. To cope with such formations is possible only within the framework of professional oral hygiene.
This procedure should be carried out every six months by everyone because not a single toothbrush and paste can provide 100% removal of plaque. Patients from the risk group are recommended to carry out professional hygiene more often, but it all depends on the individual characteristics.
7. Bad habits
Smoking is one of the main enemies of a snow-white smile. Tobacco smoke contains more than 400 substances and a huge amount of tar, which form a sticky film on the enamel surface and the so-called smoker’s plaque.
People with a long history of smoking have their teeth a yellow-brown tint, which can only be dealt with by professional bleaching. By the way, smokers develop tartar much faster, which also affects the color of the teeth.
How to maintain a snow-white smile?
Some factors that affect tooth color cannot be controlled, but dental procedures contain these processes and eliminate their consequences. First of all, we are talking about full-fledged home oral hygiene, as well as regular professional procedures in the dentist’s office. Another universal tip is to quit smoking and cut down on coloring foods.
The only sure and safe way to change the color of your teeth is to visit a dentist and have an in-room (professional) whitening procedure. It is not safe to use “folk” whitening products, they often cause more harm than good and the consequences can be unpredictable.