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Family Dentist in McCordsville | Fortville Dentist | Ladd Dental Group of McCordsville

Why are my teeth yellow

A tooth’s color can change both on the inside (the dentin) and outside (the enamel). Interior color change is a normal part of aging. This interior color is visible through your enamel, making your tooth look yellow. Grinding your teeth can wear away your enamel faster, making the inner color of your tooth more noticeable. The enamel of your tooth is stained through eating and drinking habits, tobacco use and chemicals.

How tooth Whitening Works 

Tooth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration. It is the most popular treatment by both men and women alike and the treatments available range from one-hour one-time dental visits to take-home do-it-yourself kits. Tooth whitening is popular because it can significantly improve the appearance of your teeth at much less cost and inconvenience than other techniques. Yellow or stained teeth are a common problem most Americans will develop at some point in their lives but can remedy with proper treatment. Our teeth contain enamel, a porcelain-like surface that started out sparkling white. Tooth enamel is designed to protect the teeth from the effects of chewing, gnashing, trauma and acid attacks caused by sugar. Over time, our enamel starts to hold stains within its pores and becomes more transparent and permits the yellow color of dentin, the tooth's core material, to show through. As more stains and debris accumulate because of normal wear and tear and eating habits, the teeth develop a dull, lackluster appearance. Tooth whitening exists to remove the stains and debris associated with diet and aging. 

Because the dentin and the enamel of your teeth can become discolored, there are two types of whitening. For teeth yellowing on the inside, a whitening gel is used. This gel is soaked into your teeth where it works to whiten the dentin. However, many stains on your enamel can be cleaned with professional teeth cleaning. If you are unsure which type of whitening is best for you, contact our office today for a professional opinion. 

Types of Tooth Stains:

There are two types of staining as related to teeth: Extrinsic Staining and Intrinsic Staining
Extrinsic Staining- Extrinsic stains are caused by external factors such as coffee, red wine, tea, other dark-colored foods and drinks, tobacco and routine wear and tear. Essentially they are a natural part of life but they are unsightly and can be removed. Superficial extrinsic stains can be removed with good hygiene techniques such as regular brushing and dental check-ups with cleanings. More stubborn stains can be removed with more involved efforts like teeth bleaching or whitening.

Intrinsic Staining- Intrinsic stains occur much deeper in the tooth than extrinsic stains, forming in the interior of teeth. They can result from trauma, aging, exposure to minerals (like tetracycline), during tooth formation and/or excessive ingestion of fluoride. 
Causes of Tooth Staining

Food and diet are the most common culprits of teeth discoloration, but there are a number of causes that can incite discolored teeth. Below is a list of the top causes of teeth stains and discoloration according to a representative of the American Dental Association:

Medicine- Some over-the-counter medications and antibiotics can dull your teeth. Minocycline, a derivative of Tetracycline (a bacteria fighting antibiotic) has been shown to turn teeth yellow in small children and can cause a permanent bluish-gray stain in adults. There are certain antihistamines that can also discolor teeth. Your dentist will able to tell you if your medications are impacting the color of your teeth and if there may be alternatives to their use.

Genetics and Aging- As you age the enamel of your teeth wears thin and the natural yellow or brown color of the underlying dentin layer shows through. Also genetics play a role as some people just have naturally brighter or thicker enamel than others. Dental Damage- Trauma such as injury or falls can produce sizable cracks in the teeth, which collect large amounts of stains and debris.

Dark Drinks- A good rule of thumb here is that "any drink that can stain your carpet can stain your teeth." Coffee, tea, and red wine are well known for their tooth staining capabilities; however other dark liquids such as fruit juice, soda, and even beer can damage your smile. Drinking through a straw to protect your front teeth or swigging some water around after drinking dark fluids can offset their staining power.

Colorful Foods- The habitual consumption of deep colored heavily pigmented foods such as cherries, blueberries, cranberries and soy sauce can quickly stain teeth. To avoid this brush your teeth soon after eating these types of foods.

Bad Oral Hygiene- An obvious reason for dull or lackluster teeth, poor oral hygiene means that stain-producing substances are not routinely removed from your teeth and will allow bacteria to build up. The more you brush and floss properly the better chance you have at fighting off yellow and green stains that can result from bad habits.

Is Whitening Right for Me?

Teeth whitening is an option for almost everyone. However, there are four groups of people who should not have their teeth whitened. Teeth whitening in children under the age of 16 can irritate the tooth’s pulp and cause extreme sensitivity. If you are pregnant or allergic to peroxide, tooth whitening is not for you. If you have sensitive teeth and gums, make sure to consult a dentist from Ladd Dental Group of McCordsville before whitening your teeth.

A Professional Opinion

Before whitening your teeth, we highly recommend reaching out to Dr. Shoba from Ladd Dental Group of McCordsville. We can perform an oral exam and consider any risks specific to your medical history. We will then recommend the best treatment based on the type of stain or discoloration. We will also be able to estimate the results to make sure you are getting the outcome you want. Call our office today to schedule your exam.
Fortville Family Dentist providing general, family, and dental surgery services to the McCordsville, Fortville IN communities.