One of the most common aesthetic complaints that patients have regarding their smile is the color of their teeth. We are used to seeing celebrities and TV actors with perfect, pearly white smiles and come to expect that our own smiles should look the same way. It makes sense then that patients feel frustrated by the yellowing of their teeth and wonder what they can do to fix it.
What Causes Teeth To Yellow
The truth is that we will all experience yellowing teeth as part of the natural aging process. Some people experience it more than others, but none the less, it’s not an uncommon condition. As we age, the outer protective layer of our teeth, the enamel, thins and becomes more translucent. The inner, living layer of our teeth, the dentin, also diminishes with time and has a tendency to yellow with age. Both the thinning of enamel and the shrinking and yellowing of the dentin are what cause teeth to appear yellow as we get older.
What You Can Do To Prevent Yellow Teeth
As we discussed above, there are two layers of the teeth: enamel and dentin. Your teeth’s enamel can become discolored and stained; this is called extrinsic discoloration, while intrinsic discoloration is related to aging dentin. Preventing yellow teeth needs to be addressed both extrinsically and intrinsically.
Addressing the discoloration of tooth enamel is fairly easy. Here are a few things you can do to prevent your enamel from becoming stained and yellow in color:
-Cut back or eliminate acidic and dark colored beverages (coffee, soda, wine, tea)
-Maintain a good oral health routine, including flossing to remove plaque build up
-Drink water after eating brightly colored fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, etc.
-Use OTC whitening products
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for correcting discoloration of dentin. This living tissue is prone to the aging process. You can, however, take steps to prevent premature aging. Here’s how:
-Treat bruxism (teeth grinding) which can cause your enamel and dentin to wear and age at an accelerated rate
-Protect teeth from trauma by wearing a mouth guard when playing sports
-Nourish your body with a healthy diet and manage stress
If you are concerned with the color of your teeth, have your dentist determine if the discoloration is intrinsic or extrinsic. There are many whitening solutions that can help address extrinsic discoloration and restore a brighter smile. In the case that your discoloration is caused by intrinsic factors, don’t despair. Take steps now to make sure it doesn’t become worse and that you aren’t doing anything to cause premature aging of your teeth.
Do you want to have a brighter and whiter smile? Contact Easton Dentists today and schedule a consultation to see how we can help you get the smile you deserve!