Why Are My Teeth Yellow Even Though I Brush?
The perfect smile can drastically change a person’s appearance, so it can be incredibly frustrating when we regularly brush our teeth but can’t seem to get rid of the discolouration. Many factors can make our teeth yellow or brown, and, while some are a natural part of life, fortunately, we can make changes to our lifestyle to help whiten our teeth in most cases. Plus, even if you live the healthiest life, you can also now have your teeth whitened with the help of your dentist.
Why Are My Teeth Yellow Even Though I Brush?
The most common reason for having yellow teeth despite brushing them every day is simply ageing. As we get older, the enamel protecting our teeth wears away, leaving our teeth more susceptible to staining.
For people with less enamel on their teeth naturally, the yellowing of the teeth can occur sooner than for those with a thicker layer of enamel. Even if you brush your teeth every morning and night, over time it’s perfectly natural for your teeth to lose their whiteness.
Other factors affecting teeth colour include:
- Oral hygiene
Each of these factors causes one of two types of staining; extrinsic and intrinsic.
Extrinsic stains affect the outer layer of your teeth and are mostly caused by the things we ingest, such as specific food and drinks as well as whether we smoke or not. Intrinsic stains occur on the inside of the tooth and can be caused by injury or dental treatment such as root canals, causing bleeding in the tooth, however, they can also be a result of medication, or small cracks in your teeth allowing foreign particles like smoke to stain teeth yellow from the inside.
Both extrinsic and intrinsic stains can be treated by dentists to turn your yellow teeth pearly white, although extrinsic stains can also be reduced through lifestyle changes to your oral hygiene routine, the products you consume, stopping smoking and, if appropriate, changing to an alternative medication.
We’re taught from an early age that we should brush our teeth in the morning and before bed every day, but not everyone is familiar with other oral hygiene practices and there is some confusion over when you should brush your teeth in the morning – minty coffee is unpleasant to say the least…
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t just be brushing, but you should also floss and use mouthwash every day. Toothbrushes can’t always reach between the small gaps in our teeth, so neglecting floss and mouthwash leads to plaque build-up which damages the protective enamel on our teeth. Floss reaches into the gaps, preventing the formation of plaque, while mouthwash removes all of the harmful bacteria from our mouths, including our tongues, tonsils and any other parts that we can’t regularly brush.
As for when to begin your oral hygiene routine, dentists agree that it’s better to brush your teeth before you eat breakfast or have your morning cup of tea or coffee, as the bacteria that builds up in our mouths overnight will otherwise feed on the sugars of our breakfast, causing more bacteria to grow, eventually causing cavities as the enamel on your teeth is worn down.
Coffee is also an acidic drink, so supplying the bacteria in your mouth with a naturally staining acid before protecting your teeth with brushing, will harm the enamel on your teeth and bind the dark coffee to your teeth, causing yellowing of the teeth.
You may want to get rid of your coffee breath or bits of cereal in your teeth before heading to work, but you should wait at least 30 minutes before brushing or flossing, as brushing straight after you eat or drink can have the reverse effect, and push the acids further into our teeth. That’s also why dentists recommend soft toothbrushes rather than medium or hard ones to avoid brushing away your own enamel.
Our diet is one of the biggest causes of teeth yellowing as there are three common compounds that lead to the staining of our teeth:
Regardless of how healthy your diet is, some foodstuffs are full of these chemical compounds which can cause teeth to turn yellow by sticking to your enamel and not budging despite regular brushing and flossing. However, you can slow down the discoloration of your teeth by reducing your intake of certain foods, or brushing your teeth before you consume them.
Coffee is naturally acidic and contains chromogens, which is why it’s better to brush your teeth before drinking coffee, however, not all of us start our day with coffee anyway and still suffer with yellow teeth. In reality, tea is the worst culprit for teeth-staining as it contains both chromogens and tannins, so can colour our teeth yellow more easily than coffee. What’s more, fruit juices are full of sugars and acids, and bread, cereals and pastries are also full of natural sugars, so breakfasts are some of the most damaging meals for our teeth!
Therefore, you can slow down or prevent the yellowing of your teeth by reducing the amount of sugars you consume as well as food and drinks with chromogens, acids and tannins in them. But ultimately, if you’re already eating healthily, you can simply brush your teeth before you consume your coffee, tea, fruit juice, curry or red wine to help protect them from discolouration.
There are plenty of health reasons to stop smoking, especially for the health of our mouths which come into contact with the most smoke. Tobacco contains tar and nicotine which attach themselves to our enamel and cause yellowing of the teeth in a relatively short period of time.
Stopping smoking won’t make your teeth instantly white again, but it will prevent further discolouration and prevent further damage to your teeth and overall health.
It’s more rare than poor oral hygiene, food and drink, and smoking, but certain medications can also cause teeth to turn yellow. Some antibiotics, antihistamines, antipsychotics, antihypertension and asthma-treating medication can cause yellowing of the teeth, so if you’re brushing regularly and have noticed your teeth changing colour after you’ve started taking a certain medicine, it’s best to refer to the side effects list in the medical leaflet or talk to your doctor to see if there is an alternative you can take.
How to Make Yellow Teeth White Again Naturally
There are many natural remedies for whitening your teeth, however, very few have any scientific basis, so if you want to get whiter teeth, you’re better off improving your diet, oral hygiene, and visiting your dentist.
Rinsing your mouth with coconut oil can prevent tooth yellowing and tooth decay due to the presence of a specific acid that’s known to kill Streptococcus mutans, which is one of the main causes of plaque buildup.
However, like other home remedies such as baking soda, strawberries, pineapples and hydrogen peroxide, the minute presence of a particular acid or enzyme is unlikely to have significant results in whitening your teeth.
Instead, you should simply choose toothpaste and mouthwash that contain these products that are known to whiten teeth.
Dental Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is now a common practice in dental surgeries, with many people looking to improve their smile and improve their dental hygiene. Either visit your dentist for a whitening treatment that takes less than one hour or take a teeth whitening kit home and whiten your teeth yourself in around two weeks. A gel will coat your teeth, and if you’re having your teeth whitened with the dentist, a painless UV light will be applied for quick results.
Treat Yourself to a Perfect Smile – Didsbury Dental Practice
At Didsbury Dental Practice, we know the importance of being pleased with your smile. Book your appointment with the best private dentists in Manchester now and have your teeth white in no time, or simply let us take a mould of your teeth so we can give you your personalised at-home teeth whitening kit! We also do white fillings so you can get back to eating normally without any obvious signs of dental care.