Man grinding his teeth

Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered how your teeth got so yellow? You’re not alone, many of us have! Yellowing usually happens gradually so it’s easy not to notice it. While it may give your confidence a hit, generally yellow teeth are not a sign of a serious medical condition. The good news is that there are ways to get your bright, white smile back, but let’s look at what’s causing the yellowing first.

Unfortunately, your teeth age just like the rest of your body. As the strong, white protective coating on your teeth, known as enamel starts to fade over time from normal wear and tear, your teeth will yellow.

Coffee, tea, sodas, wines and some fruits and vegetables can stain your teeth. Anyone who’s had a glass of red wine and then smiled to see that their teeth have been stained red will be familiar with this effect.

Tobacco products stain your teeth. Have you ever noticed that the filter on a cigarette starts out as white and then once it’s been smoked, that filter has a gross yellow-brown color to it? That’s what passes through your teeth as well. And it’s not just cigarettes that will stain your teeth, all tobacco products including pipe smoke and chewing tobacco have the potential to yellow your teeth.

There’s a reason dentists tell you to brush twice a day and it’s not just to keep the toothbrush industry in business! When you do not routinely brush, floss and rinse your mouth to remove plaque build-up and tartar, it can hasten the discoloration of your teeth.

Certain medications, such as the antibiotics doxycycline and tetracycline, can darken the teeth of children younger than 8 years old. Some antihistamines, drugs for high blood pressure and antipsychotic medications can also stain adult teeth. Go over any such potential side effects of the medications you are currently, or may start taking, with your physician.

There are some illnesses and diseases that can cause tooth discoloration or affect your enamel, however, they aren’t very common. Some treatments can cause discoloration such as chemotherapy and/or radiation used to treat cancer.

It’s possible to inherit enamel that is more yellow than that of other people whose genes differ from yours. (Thanks Mom & Dad!) If none of the reasons above pertain to your situation, it may just be that you genetically have teeth that are not as white as you’d like. The good news is that there are ways to whiten your teeth!

If you’re interested in teeth whitening or discussing your options for whiter teeth, call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule an exam.