Are Yellow Teeth a Sign of Poor Oral Health?

Blonde young woman hides her yellow teeth with a bouquet of yellow sunflowers at a farmers market

Are you concerned about the health of your teeth because they aren’t white? Many people think that having yellow teeth is a sign of an unhealthy smile and poor oral hygiene. While there is nothing wrong with wanting whiter teeth, there also may be nothing wrong with your oral health or oral care routine if your teeth are slightly yellowish. Here’s why:

Natural Enamel Thickness & Translucency

Enamel is on the surface of every tooth and it has a natural hue of white. However, the underlying dentin layer has a slightly yellowish color. This yellowish hue shows through the enamel in almost everyone, but more so for those with naturally thinner or more translucent enamel. So your yellow teeth may be perfectly normal due to your genetics!

Lifestyle Factors

Although genetics plays a big role in the base color of your teeth, the color of your teeth is also affected by your lifestyle habits. Other factors that contribute to thin enamel or excessive discoloration include:

  • Bruxism (or teeth grinding)
  • Brushing with activated charcoal
  • Brushing with lemon juice & baking soda
  • Brushing too vigorously
  • Using a toothbrush with medium or firm bristles (we recommend soft!)
  • Drinking coffee, tea, wine, and dark-colored sodas
  • Eating candy, sweet treats, citrus, balsamic vinegar, and tomatoes
  • Chewing tobacco and smoking
  • Plaque accumulation
  • Tooth decay

How to Achieve a Brighter Smile with Cosmetic Dentistry

In an attempt to whiten their smile, many patients purchase whitening products in the form of toothpaste, mouthwash, pens, and strips, or try out questionable dental fads. But many of these products and fads are either ineffective or damage enamel, causing sensitivity and further discoloration. So if you’re self-conscious about your yellowing teeth, talk to our expert team! We can recommend a safe course of action that’s right for you in brightening up your smile:

  • We offer two safe whitening methods that deliver dazzling results: one-visit professional teeth whitening and take-home whitening trays.
  • Porcelain veneers is another option to upgrade your smile. These thin porcelain shells are specially-designed for you, bond to your teeth, and cover up imperfections in color and shape.

How to Reduce Future Yellowing

There are also things you can do to limit further yellowing due to lifestyle factors:

  • Temper your consumption of foods and beverages that tend to cause damage and discoloration
  • Drink plenty of water, especially with staining foods and drinks
  • Quit smoking
  • Ask us about a nightguard if you grind your teeth
  • Be sure to brush your teeth gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste

A Brighter Smile Is within Reach!

If you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing every day, and visiting us every six months for a cleaning and checkup, slightly yellow teeth do not necessarily indicate that they are unhealthy. At your exam, we can determine if you have tooth decay that needs to be addressed or if your oral hygiene routine could be improved. Contact us if you want more information about professional teeth whitening or porcelain veneers, or would like to schedule your next checkup at Prairie Dental Group.

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