While celebrities and models may sport pearly white teeth, the smiles of most people are a tad duller. But this shouldn’t be too surprising. Many things can affect the color of your teeth and turn them that dreaded yellow hue, which may make some people feel self-conscious about their appearance and hesitant to smile.
Extrinsic stains affect the surface of the enamel, which is the hard, outermost layer of teeth. Although tooth enamel can be easily stained, these stains can typically be removed or corrected.
As a rule of thumb, any food or drink that can stain clothes can also stain your teeth. So, that’s why dark-colored foods and beverages, including red wine, colas, chocolate and dark sauces — such as soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, spaghetti sauce and curries — can discolor teeth. In addition, some fruits and vegetables — such as grapes, blueberries, cherries, beets and pomegranates — have the potential to stain teeth.
Acidic foods and beverages can promote staining by eroding tooth enamel and making it easier for pigments to latch onto the teeth. Intrinsic stains occur within the inner structure of the tooth, called the dentin, making these stains more difficult to remove. Besides stains, some other causes of discolored teeth include genetics, age, illness and injuries.
Heredity is also the reason why some individuals have naturally brighter or thicker tooth enamel than others. You may simply be born with teeth that appear more yellow (or whiter) compared to other people’s teeth. The color of your teeth can also be affected by illness. Yellowing can occur after suffering a high fever at a young age due to an infection.
Age can darken the color of your teeth: As you get older, the outer layer of enamel thins over time, making teeth appear more yellow. The best protection against thinning enamel is to ensure proper saliva production, which can wash away food and plaque from teeth, and getting enough fluoride, according to the Mayo Clinic. Brush twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, drink water treated with fluoride, and see a doctor if you are experiencing dry mouth to help prevent your tooth enamel from thinning.
Falls or sports injuries in young children can disturb the formation of tooth enamel when kids’ permanent teeth are still developing, and can result in a grayish appearance. Similar injuries that damage the nerves or chip teeth in adults may also lead to a discoloration of permanent teeth. In addition, people who grind their teeth excessively, often while sleeping, may slowly remove the outer layer of tooth enamel exposing the yellowish dentin beneath it.
What to do:
Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy meant to improve oral hygiene and remove toxins from the body. The practice involves swishing oil around in your mouth to remove bacteria, which can turn into plaque and cause your teeth to look yellow. Traditionally, Indians used sunflower or sesame oil for oil pulling, but any oil will work.
Baking soda has natural whitening properties, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in commercial toothpaste. It’s a mild abrasive that can help scrub away surface stains on teeth. Additionally, baking soda creates an alkaline environment in your mouth, which prevents bacteria from growing
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that also kills bacteria in your mouth. In fact, people have been using hydrogen peroxide for years to disinfect wounds because of its ability to kill bacteria. Many commercial whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide, although at a much higher concentration than you will use. Unfortunately, there aren’t any studies to show the effects of rinsing or brushing with hydrogen peroxide alone, but several studies have analyzed commercial toothpastes containing peroxide.
Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a disinfectant and natural cleaning product.Acetic acid, which is the main active ingredient in apple cider vinegar, effectively kills bacteria. The antibacterial property of vinegar is what makes it useful for cleaning your mouth and whitening your teeth.
Should you not be happy with the color of your teeth, consult a dentist!