Have you ever looked at your teeth and wondered how they can get so yellow? A lot of people have. It’s easy to overlook teeth going yellow because it happens so slowly. The good news is that having yellow teeth isn’t a sign that something is seriously wrong. While it can damage your confidence and be disheartening to feel that you’ve lost your winning smile, it’s entirely possible to get it back. The first thing to do is understand why your teeth went yellow in the first place and how you can prevent it from happening in the future.
Main Reasons Teeth Go Yellow
There are times when yellow teeth just run in the family. If your parents typically have yellow teeth then you’re likely going to have the same problem. Outside of white, teeth naturally come in reddish brown, reddish yellow, reddish gray, and gray. The depth of the color ranges.
Teeth start to look yellow after enamel thins out and dentin starts to show through. Dentin is a yellow or brownish-colored material hidden under enamel and it is one of the main reasons that teeth look yellow. Dentin is covered up by thick enamel, but keep in mind that it isn’t always able to cover up stains on the surface of teeth, which is another reason for yellow teeth we’ll get to in a minute.
Teeth will naturally become yellow as you age because enamel wears away because of exposure to the acids in the foods and drinks you eat, not to mention the effort of chewing food. Some teeth taken on a more grayish shade if mixed with a lasting food stain.
Nicotine damages more than just the lungs; it also leaves a yellowish or brownish surface stain on teeth – which is another reason to stop smoking!
Many foods stain teeth. Curry spices, berries, and tomatoes in pasta sauce have pigments that cling to the enamel of teeth and stain them. Even that healthy salad can leave your teeth looking dirty.
Antibiotics such as doxycycline and tetracycline stain teeth during development in the gums. The National Institutes of Health suggest that if these antibiotics are taken during the second half of pregnancy or before children turn eight, it could cause permanently stained teeth that need to be treated with an in-office bleaching.
Certain antihistamines, blood pressure drugs, and antipsychotic medications stain teeth. Have a discussion with your physician about the potential side effects of medications that you are currently taking or may soon start taking.
Everyone knows how good fluoride is for teeth, but don’t forget how bad too much of a good thing can be. Too much fluoride causes a condition known as fluorosis which leaves them brown or yellow. Fluoride toothpaste, fluoridated water, and fluoride tablets and treatments are the main sources of fluoride. If you are worried that you’re getting too much fluoride – and the potential side-effects of such – then discuss the issue with your dentist.
Accidents and physical trauma can crack off tooth enamel and damage the interior of a tooth, causing discoloration that could be an indication of bleeding and the need for professional treatment.
Tooth grinding is a habit that some people have caused by stress, particularly when sleeping. The condition is also known as bruxism and it can be harmful to tooth enamel, weakening it until it cracks and yellows.
Yellow Teeth Remedies
Here are seven great natural treatments for eliminating yellow teeth. It might help to choose several treatments and alternate between them. Experiment with the different options to choose the best solution for you.
Brushing your teeth
The first step in treating yellow teeth is to brush more often and to brush properly. It’s important that you brush your teeth after consuming foods and drinks known to cause yellow teeth.
You should brush your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes at the least. Ensure that your brush reaches into all the cracks and crevices. Use a circular motion when brushing to ensure that your gums are getting the right protection. Brush the inside and outside of teeth, as well as the chewing surfaces.
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide
A paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is considered an effective method to remove stains, bacteria, and plaque from teeth.
Mix a tablespoon of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to make the paste. Rinse out your mouth using water after brushing teeth with the paste. This ratio of ingredients can also be used to create a mouthwash.
A study from 2012 showed that people who use a toothpaste that contained baking soda and peroxide removed stains from teeth and left them whiter. It took around six weeks for significant improvements to become noticeable. There is a need for further study to properly determine if the results last after treatment with the toothpaste ends.
Coconut Oil Pulling
Coconut oil pulling removes plaque and bacteria from the mouth, which leaves them whiter. Make sure you use organic, high quality oils that are free from harmful ingredients.
Swish 1 or 2 teaspoons of liquid coconut oil in your mouth for between 10 and 30 minutes without letting the oil reach the back of your throat. Don’t swallow the oil either because it contains the bacteria and toxins from your mouth. Spit the oil out into the toilet or into a wastepaper basket because it may clog drains. Use water to rinse out your mouth and then drink a glass of water before brushing your teeth.
There are some studies that do confirm coconut oil pulling works to whiten teeth. A study from 2015 showed that oil pulling with sunflower oil and sesame oil reduces gingivitis from plaque. Oil pulling may be used to whiten teeth because plaque is what causes teeth to become yellow. Additional studies into the effects of coconut oil pulling need to be done.
Apple cider vinegar
Small amounts of apple cider vinegar can be used to whiten teeth. Use two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and six ounces of water to create a mouthwash. Swish the mixture for up to 30 seconds before rinsing your mouth with water and brushing your teeth.
A study from 2014 showed that apple vinegar was able to bleach cow teeth. It’s important to note that it may damage the surface configuration and the hardness of teeth. Make sure to use it with caution and only for short amounts of time. Further human studies are needed to explore the effects on human teeth.
Lemon, orange, and banana peels
Some claim that rubbing the peel from an orange, lemon, or banana makes them whiter. It’s believed that these fruit peels contain the compound d-limonene, which is what whitens the teeth.
Gently rub the peels on your teeth for up to two minutes. Ensure that you probably rinse your mouth out and brush teeth afterwards.
There’s a lack of evidence out there supporting the effectiveness of fruit peels for whitening teeth. Even so, there was a study from 2010 that looked into the effects of toothpastes made with 5% d-limonene and how effective they were at removing stains caused by smoking and tea. People who used the d-limonene toothpaste and a whitening formula twice a day for four weeks saw a significant reduction in smoking stains, although ti failed to remove the long-stained stains and tea stains. Additional studies are needed to see if d-limonene is effective by itself.
A 2017 study tested the potential effect of citric acid extracts from four kinds of orange peel as a teeth whitener. The different peels were shown to have different levels of teeth whitening, with the most powerful effects coming from tangerine peels.
Activated charcoal can be used to remove stains from teeth. It’s a highly absorbent material that is said to remove bacteria and toxins from the mouth. Open an activated charcoal tablet and put it on your toothbrush. Brush your teeth with a gentle circular pattern for two minutes. Be careful around the gums because it can be abrasive. Next, spit out the charcoal.
If you have sensitive teeth or want to limit how abrasive the charcoal is then you can just dab it on teeth instead and leave it for a few minutes.
It’s also possible to create a mouthwash by mixing activated charcoal with a small amount of water. Swish the solution around your mouth for a few minutes and spit it out. Use water to rinse out your mouth after using the activated charcoal.
More scientific research is necessary to investigate how effective activated charcoal is at whitening teeth. Research performed in 2015 showed that activated charcoal was often more abrasive than regular whitening toothpaste on dental acrylic resins. Researchers failed to conclude that activated charcoal was effective for whitening teeth. The absorbent nature of the ingredient does mean it can potentially remove stains. However, it’s important to note that activated charcoal may get stuck between cracks and margins in teeth.
Eating fruits and vegetables with a high water content
It’s said that fruits and vegetables with high water content are able to keep teeth healthy. It’s thought that the water content of the fruits cleanses your teeth and gums to remove the plaque and bacteria that cause yellow teeth.
Consuming crunchy fruits and vegetables after a meals can increase saliva productions. This increase in saliva removes remove that is stuck on teeth. While eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is bound to be good for your overall health – including dental health – there’s not enough scientific evidence to support the claims. This said, eating plenty of healthy food during the day and after meals sure wouldn’t cause any harm!
Scientific research is needed to confirm or deny these claims. A study has shown that using a mixture of baking soda and strawberry wasn’t effective at whitening teeth. Research out of 2007 did find that vitamin C deficiency makes periodontitis more severe. The study didn’t consider the whitening effects of vitamin C for teeth, it did show a connection between healthy teeth and high-plasma vitamin C levels. This would suggest that having high amounts of vitamin C reduces the amount of plaque on teeth which causes yellow teeth.
A study from 2012 did discover that toothpastes containing bromelain and papain extracted did lead to significant stain removal. Papain is an extract from papaya, while bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple.
Additional studies must be needed to expand on those findings.
Make sure that you keep up a good oral hygiene program and have regular dental checkups. If you don’t see much success with these methods then your dentist should be able to determine what you need to do to keep your teeth white and healthy.
What Treatment Options are There for Whitening Teeth?
Treatment options for whitening teeth can vary depending on the reason and extent of discoloration. These may include:
- Whitening strips
- Avoiding food and beverages known to cause stains
- Using proper brushing and flossing techniques
- Bondings and veneers
- Over-the-counter teeth whitening agents
- In-home whitening agents sold by a dentist
- In-office whitening procedures
How to Avoid Yellow Teeth
Brushing teeth, profession cleaning, and whitening treatments and veneers are the best solutions for avoiding yellow teeth. Brushing teeth thoroughly twice a day is essential for avoiding yellow surface stains. It helps to floss teeth at least once a day too. Deeper and more intrinsic stains can be treated with a visit to the dental hygienist, who is able to clean away the unsightly bacteria and tartar, polishing teeth and cleaning them while you wait in the dental chair.
As far as enamel stains are concerned, prevention will always be better than the cure. With some simple lifestyle changes you can prevent your teeth from being discoloured. Avoid smoking and limit the amount of staining foods and drinks you consume. It helps to rinse out your mouth after consuming these foods and drinks.
With all the different options for whitening teeth, there’s no reason for you to feel embarrassed over the color of your teeth. If you aren’t able to correct the problem from home, then your dentist is sure to give you the guidance you need.