Your teeth begin to turn yellow and become discolored for a variety of reasons. In many cases, yellowing of the teeth is due to staining of the enamel and the accumulation of plaque on the teeth due to poor hygiene.
Extrinsic yellowing of the teeth has to do with the exterior of the teeth and is caused by staining from coffee, cola, tobacco and other foods.
Intrinsic teeth yellowing results from internal changes in the structure of the teeth. For example, aggressive brushing may wear away the enamel, which is eggshell thin. As the enamel thins out, the dentin inside the tooth can darken and take on a yellow tint. Additional causes include over-exposure to high amounts of fluoride during childhood; tetracycline antibiotics used during pregnancy or as a child; physical trauma that inhibits the development and restoration of enamel on the teeth.
Age-related yellowing of the teeth is extremely common, as the dentin within each tooth naturally begins to yellow over time. As we age, the enamel becomes thinner and this makes the deeper-tinted dentin more visible, creating the appearance of yellowing teeth.
Presentation and Development of Yellow Teeth
There is no set pattern for the onset and progression of yellow teeth. It may result in one or two teeth begin to yellow while a family member experiences a different degree of yellowing.
The entire tooth may not discolor in the traditional sense, either. Some teeth may exhibit spotting, pitting, or streaks of white or yellow. The pattern and severity vary due to the structure of the mouth, oral hygiene habits, diet, presence of bacteria, use of medications and antibiotics.
Yellow teeth do not typically cause pain and discomfort, beyond self-consciousness of a less attractive appearance. The staining and discoloration are a visible symbol that the teeth need attention. If left unchecked, however, the accumulation of plaque and tartar, plus the growth of bacteria along the gum line, will lead to gum disease and loss of enamel.
This process often results in brittle teeth, pain while chewing, sensitive teeth and gums, oral infections and other health problems.
How to Treat Yellowing of the Teeth
There are several options to treat the discoloration of teeth and restore a whiter smile, starting with a professional cleaning or whitening with a dentist. Dental bleaching gels and strips that whiten teeth for use at home are readily available in most retail locations.
Professional surgery or a more direct approach may be required to fix oral issues that are causing the discoloration.
If oral health habits are the primary cause, you can improve your home dental care. Use an ultra-soft toothbrush to clean and whiten teeth, like the PeriClean. A gentle cleaning will remove the plaque and also protect the enamel when you brush. Keeping the enamel, which is as thin as an eggshell, will significantly reduce the yellowing of the teeth. Also, take note of your diet and eliminate or at least reduce consuming items things that stain your teeth. Of course, schedule a dental cleaning and examination to ensure your smile is a healthy one.
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