Why do Teeth Turn Yellow?

Yellowing of the teeth may not be a sign of a serious medical condition, but it can cost you your confidence and willingness to smile every day. It’s important to stay aware of what causes yellowing and the measures you can take to avoid or limit exposure to such things.

There are many reasons as to why teeth turn yellow. Most cases of tooth discoloration fall under either intrinsic or extrinsic stains.

Extrinsic Stains
Extrinsic stains are found on the surface of the enamel, the hard, outermost layer of the tooth. If you maintain a diet that comprises dark-colored foods and beverages including coffee, tea, and fruits, such as grapes, blueberries, and pomegranates, it can result in superficial staining of teeth. Smoking and intake of drinks like red wine and soft drinks also contribute to yellowing of teeth.

Intrinsic Stains
Intrinsic stains happen from within. These stains can be caused by numerous factors like medication, excessive fluoride, and chemotherapy.

If children under the age of 8 take antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline, their teeth may turn yellow as they develop. Antihistamines (e.g., Benadryl), Albuterol, drugs for high blood pressure, and antipsychotics contribute to discoloration of the teeth. Chemotherapy and radiation directed at the head and neck can also result in intrinsic stains.

Teeth yellowing can also be caused by factors beyond our control like:

Genetics – Some people are simply born with teeth that are more yellowed.

Aging – Yellowing can be part of the natural aging process. The enamel coating of the teeth gets thinner with age revealing the yellowish color of the underlying dentin layer.

Whitening Yellow Teeth
There are many products out there claiming to whiten your teeth. While some of these products may lighten extrinsic stains to some extent, they are not effective in whitening the other stains. Your best bet for whitening yellow teeth is to visit a qualified dentist for a tooth whitening treatment. Schedule an appointment with the professionals at Carolina Smiles Dentistry to determine which solution is best for you.

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919-620-6700
4210 N. Roxboro St., Suite 100
Durham, NC 27704

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