Most people are born with ivory-coloured teeth, but there are various naturally-occurring shades, ranging from yellow to grey. The colour of your teeth is determined by your DNA in the same way that DNA sets your eye or hair colour. While a yellow shade isn’t a sign of poor oral health, yellow stains are generally caused by bad dental habits. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of teeth discolouration.
Poor dental hygiene
Plaque build-up is one of the primary causes of teeth stains. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day to remove bacteria and prevent plaque and tartar.
Teeth turn yellow with age, as enamel eventually weakens, exposing the dentin beneath, which is a darker substance that forms the bulk of the tooth. You can prevent enamel damage by sipping acidic drinks through a straw, cutting down on acidic foods, and brushing every day.
Foods and drinks
Enamel has minuscule crevices that can hold tiny food and drink particles. Coffee, wine, tea, and berries are especially high in tannin, Coffee, wine, tea, and berries are especially high highly coloured materials - substances that will cling to the enamel and cause discolouration. Try to limit your intake, and rinse your mouth with plenty of water after you’ve consumed acidic food and drinks. Most importantly, brush your teeth twice a day and visit your dentist regularly.
Chewing tobacco or smoking
Tobacco contains nicotine and tar, which will stick to your tooth enamel and cause discolouration. Quitting smoking will improve your overall health as well as the appearance of your teeth.
Medication side effects
Certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline and doxycycline, are known to discolour teeth in children. Antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs and high blood pressure drugs can also lead to discolouration – it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before taking them.
By making a few simple changes in your everyday life, you can find ways to avoid teeth stains and discolouration. As ever, maintain a good oral care routine by brushing, flossing and rinsing every day, and don’t forget to visit your dentist every six months for a thorough clean.