Are Yellow Teeth a Sign of Poor Oral Health?
Teeth naturally have a white-yellow hue to them. This is because the enamel, the protective layer on the outside of your teeth, is white in color, but can be thinner for some people and even translucent. The layer directly under the enamel is light yellow. Therefore, it is perfectly natural to have a light yellow color on your teeth and it is not caused by poor oral health. However, there are some risks that may make your teeth stained or more yellow in color and these could be signs of poor oral health.
What Causes Teeth to be Yellow?
If your teeth are a darker yellow than what is described above, you may want to re-evaluate your oral hygiene routine and your consumption of specific foods and drinks. The primary causes of yellow teeth include the following:
- Diet: There are foods and drinks that will stain your teeth and may cause permanent discoloration. Additionally, if a food or drink is high in sugar or acid, it may break down the enamel on your teeth revealing the yellow layer underneath. Some of these include red wine, coffee, tea, soda, and sports drinks.
- Unstable Fluoride Levels: Fluoride in excess as well as too little fluoride can cause problems to tooth enamel, especially in young children. It’s important to talk with your dentist to ensure you and your child are receiving the right amount of fluoride to keep your teeth healthy.
- Smoking: Today, most people are aware that smoking causes a number of health conditions, including yellow teeth. The smoke quickly stains your teeth and can cause permanent damage if you are a long-term smoker. The easiest thing to do is to stop smoking and inquire about a teeth whitening procedure.
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Poor dental care can also cause yellow teeth. If you are not brushing and flossing effectively or as often as you should, plaque and bacteria will build up on your teeth and cause a yellow appearance.
- Illness: Unfortunately, some medical conditions can cause your teeth to yellow due to the medications you may have to take. If this is the case, discuss options with your doctor.
How to Keep Teeth White
If you are worried about the color of your teeth and would like a whiter smile, there are some things you can do. First, there are a number of over-the-counter teeth whitening products and antioxidant toothpastes that you can use to whiten your teeth. It’s important to do your research and ensure you are not ingesting any harmful chemicals from the products. Second, you can inquire about professional teeth whitening from your local dentist. Again, it’s important to discuss the risks associated with these procedures and to understand which type of chemicals they will be using on your teeth. Third, you can improve your oral hygiene routine, reduce your consumption of the foods mentioned above, and quit smoking.
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