Why are my teeth yellow?
Teeth come in a variety of hues; even an individual tooth can have a variety of shades within it. Some complain that their teeth are not “white” enough and they would like to whiten or bleach them.
In the last 10-20 years society’s idea of white teeth has changed and this can partially be blamed on Hollywood. Anyone we see on TV or in magazines has teeth that are not naturally white. Even dental products have changed over time to accommodate those who want teeth that are the whitest white.
The tooth colour we see is a combination of the inner, more highly pigmented layer of tooth structure called dentin showing through the more lightly pigmented and translucent outer enamel layer. Teeth can also become stained due to food and beverages. Over time as we eat and drink those food/beverages that are pigmented, they can permeate the enamel and stain it. Initially that stain is extrinsic (on the outside of the tooth) and can be professionally cleaned during a dental hygiene visit. Over time though some stain can become intrinsic (towards the inner portion of the tooth) and this cannot be typically removed at a dental hygiene visit. Intrinsic stain is deeper and usually whitening/bleaching can help brighten up the teeth.
Food and Beverages That Can Stain Teeth include:
- Coffee, Tea, Red Wine
- Coloured Pop and Juices
- Soy Sauce
- Popsicles or Slushies
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Tomato Sauce
- Fruits and Vegetables which are pigmented
Besides food and beverages, other things can stain your teeth. Tobacco use, such as cigarettes or smokeless tobacco can stain the teeth. This stain is typically the most difficult to remove.
As well, teeth can also be stained by some medications taking during development of the teeth as a young child including the common antibiotic tetracycline.
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