Why are teeth yellow?

The natural color of teeth can vary – from white, through yellow, to greyish-blue and yellowish-brown. Many factors influence the color. First of all, genetics – it determines the color of the bone, which translates into the color of the teeth. Interestingly, the yellower the teeth, the more resistant to decay.

The color of teeth is also influenced by medications that are taken during childhood, when permanent teeth are formed. Frequent intake of antibiotics during this period may affect the color of teeth, making unaesthetic, yellow or brown discolorations – that are difficult to remove – appear on them.

Additionally, the diet and habits are equally important for the color of teeth. Every meal and drink can lead to discoloration. The lighter the products we eat and drink, the less exposed we are to the discoloration of the enamel.

Smoking, frequent drinking of wine, coffee and tea – these are habits that most often lead to teeth discoloration. These things create a sediment that looks unaesthetic and which should be regularly removed at the dentist's office.

Whitening methods

  • First, start by removing plaque and tartar. Plaque can be removed in several ways – the most popular are ultrasound and sandblasting. It is also worth checking the dental fillings. Those put in years ago can be discolored, and amalgam fillings can change the color of the enamel. That is why it is best to exchange them for new ones.
  • Starting with the most available and the simplest methods of whitening, it is worth mentioning whitening pastes. They are available at every pharmacy and drugstore. Whitening toothpastes contain enzymes that prevent the formation of plaque, as well as abrasives that mechanically remove tartar. Whitening toothpastes can brighten teeth by 1-2 tones, but they are not always safe for enamel – when choosing the right one, you should pay attention to that fact.
  • Another way is to use gels, varnishes or whitening strips. These are also methods allowing you to whiten your teeth at home. Such products can be purchased at drugstores or in dental offices. They give a brightening effect of 2-4 tones, for a period of about 1-3 months. The disadvantage of this whitening method may be an uneven effect when applying gel strips, and teeth hypersensitivity.
  • Whitening in the dental office is the quickest method that gives the effect right away. The treatment lasts about an hour – as the patient leaves the dentist’s office’s chair, his teeth can be brighter by up to 5 tones. The whitening process itself is painless; however, the teeth are hypersensitive up to two days after the procedure. The effects of this whitening are the longest – even up to 2 years.

Trivia and tips for whitening

  • Treatments for brightening teeth with chemicals – that is, those in dentist’s office and using whitening caps purchased in the drugstore – are reserved only for people over 16 years of age. They should not be carried out by pregnant women or people suffering from epilepsy.
  • After whitening, the most common condition is teeth hypersensitivity. It happens even when using whitening toothpastes – you must choose the product that is safe for the enamel. Hypersensitivity after procedures usually disappears after 1-2 days.
  • After the whitening procedure, introduce a 'white diet' – avoid dark-colored products such as coffee, tea, red wine, fruit juices, beets, red peppers, blueberries, cola, etc. Also, do not smoke.
  • Whitening in the dentist’s office is the most effective method. The effect lasts up to 2 years. To maintain it for as long as possible, you should systematically use a whitening toothpaste that will slow the formation of new discolorations.
  • Dead teeth (those treated via a root canal therapy) do not give in to traditional whitening. To lighten them, you need to whiten them from the inside – by introducing whitening preparation into the canals. What is more, you cannot whiten tooth fillings and crowns, dental bridges and other prosthetic restorations. If they are in a place visible within the range of a wide smile, after finishing the whitening, replace them, adjusting the new color to the whitened teeth.