Causes and treatment of yellow teeth

Tooth stains or yellow teeth are one of the reasons why patients do not want to smile because they are very unsightly. There are different types of blemishes, and they can appear for different reasons, but it is important to know that we can treat them and thus improve the aesthetics of the smile.

What are the causes of yellow teeth?

There are different factors that can lead to yellow teeth and a person can be affected by several of them:

1. Poor oral hygiene.

An incorrect brushing technique or lack of oral hygiene with its consequent accumulation of bacterial plaque can cause a yellowish colour to appear on the teeth.

2. Smoking.

Teeth tend to stain with the effect of nicotine and tar from cigarettes, which is why smoking is one of the main causes of yellow staining of the teeth.

3. Eating foods that colour your teeth.

On the one hand, people with eating habits that include products with a high content of pigments such as tea, coffee or spices may suffer from yellowing of the teeth, as these foods filter through the microscopic channels that exist in the dentine of our teeth.

On the other hand, large consumption of acidic foods (lemon, orange, lime, vinegar…) can cause wear of the most superficial and protective layer of the teeth. When this layer, known as enamel, disappears, it leaves on the surface the second layer of the tooth (dentine) whose colour is more yellow. In these cases, moreover, it is necessary to be especially careful because the disappearance of the enamel can cause an increased sensitivity to cold, heat and sweets.

4. Having suffered a blow to a tooth.

Dental trauma can cause necrosis of the nerve over time and, consequently, this can lead to darkening or yellowing of the tooth.

5. Being a bruxer.

Bruxism, which we know as teeth grinding, is a problem that, in the long term, generates a calcification of the nerve canals that give the tooth a more yellow colour.

6. Suffering from a congenital disease.

Congenital diseases, such as dentinogenesis or amelogenesis imperfecta, are disorders that occur during tooth development, in which the formation of these layers of the tooth occurs abnormally and the colour of the affected tooth.

7. Excessive oral intake of fluoride.

How can yellow teeth be treated?

The first thing we must do in consultation is to detect the cause of the darkening in order to eliminate it so that the treatment we carry out to eliminate the stains is effective and lasting in the long term. The most common treatments are:

  • Oral cleaning is the quickest solution in the case of superficial stains such as those caused by smoking or eating habits that stain teeth.
  • The dental whitening professional or ambulatory, the latter always performed with the proper supervision and recommendations of the dentist.
  • The treatment with porcelain or composite veneers, in addition to changing the colour, allows us to slightly change the shape and position of the teeth.

How to prevent stains from reappearing?

Whatever the solution proposed by the specialist in dental esthetics, it is important to emphasize that in order to maintain the results of any treatment for a longer period of time, it is essential to follow a good hygiene routine at home and healthy eating habits. All of this is based on the following:

  • Brush teeth after every meal, preferably with an electric toothbrush.
  • Use dental floss every time you brush.
  • Use a fluoride rinse after brushing at night.
  • Use a soft bristle brush to avoid damaging the enamel and gums.
  • Change the brush -or its head – every three months so that the bristles do not lose their effectiveness.
  • Limit consumption of foods that stain teeth. In other words, if we really like a food or drink that stains our teeth, it is not necessary to eliminate it from our diet completely, but we should apply moderation.
  • And, especially, avoid smoking.

As you can see, within these recommendations we have not only provided you with good guidelines for your mouth but also for your general health.

Tooth stains or yellow teeth are one of the reasons why patients do not want to smile because they are very unsightly. There are different types of blemishes, and they can appear for different reasons, but it is important to know that we can treat them and thus improve the aesthetics of the smile.

What are the causes of yellow teeth?

There are different factors that can lead to yellow teeth and a person can be affected by several of them:

1. Poor oral hygiene.

An incorrect brushing technique or lack of oral hygiene with its consequent accumulation of bacterial plaque can cause a yellowish colour to appear on the teeth.

2. Smoking.

Teeth tend to stain with the effect of nicotine and tar from cigarettes, which is why smoking is one of the main causes of yellow staining of the teeth.

3. Eating foods that colour your teeth.

On the one hand, people with eating habits that include products with a high content of pigments such as tea, coffee or spices may suffer from yellowing of the teeth, as these foods filter through the microscopic channels that exist in the dentine of our teeth.

On the other hand, large consumption of acidic foods (lemon, orange, lime, vinegar…) can cause wear of the most superficial and protective layer of the teeth. When this layer, known as enamel, disappears, it leaves on the surface the second layer of the tooth (dentine) whose colour is more yellow. In these cases, moreover, it is necessary to be especially careful because the disappearance of the enamel can cause an increased sensitivity to cold, heat and sweets.

4. Having suffered a blow to a tooth.

Dental trauma can cause necrosis of the nerve over time and, consequently, this can lead to darkening or yellowing of the tooth.

5. Being a bruxer.

Bruxism, which we know as teeth grinding, is a problem that, in the long term, generates a calcification of the nerve canals that give the tooth a more yellow colour.

6. Suffering from a congenital disease.

Congenital diseases, such as dentinogenesis or amelogenesis imperfecta, are disorders that occur during tooth development, in which the formation of these layers of the tooth occurs abnormally and the colour of the affected tooth.

7. Excessive oral intake of fluoride.

How can yellow teeth be treated?

The first thing we must do in consultation is to detect the cause of the darkening in order to eliminate it so that the treatment we carry out to eliminate the stains is effective and lasting in the long term. The most common treatments are:

  • Oral cleaning is the quickest solution in the case of superficial stains such as those caused by smoking or eating habits that stain teeth.
  • The dental whitening professional or ambulatory, the latter always performed with the proper supervision and recommendations of the dentist.
  • The treatment with porcelain or composite veneers, in addition to changing the colour, allows us to slightly change the shape and position of the teeth.

How to prevent stains from reappearing?

Whatever the solution proposed by the specialist in dental esthetics, it is important to emphasize that in order to maintain the results of any treatment for a longer period of time, it is essential to follow a good hygiene routine at home and healthy eating habits. All of this is based on the following:

  • Brush teeth after every meal, preferably with an electric toothbrush.
  • Use dental floss every time you brush.
  • Use a fluoride rinse after brushing at night.
  • Use a soft bristle brush to avoid damaging the enamel and gums.
  • Change the brush -or its head – every three months so that the bristles do not lose their effectiveness.
  • Limit consumption of foods that stain teeth. In other words, if we really like a food or drink that stains our teeth, it is not necessary to eliminate it from our diet completely, but we should apply moderation.
  • And, especially, avoid smoking.

As you can see, within these recommendations we have not only provided you with good guidelines for your mouth but also for your general health.

Dra. Marga Prats
Dra. Marga Prats
Dental Aesthetics and Endodontics

Specialist in Dental Aesthetics and Endodontics, trained in Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona. Meet the team of Clínica Pronova.

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