Ever looked in the mirror and wondered how your teeth got so yellow? Many of us have. Because yellowing can happen gradually, it can easily go overlooked. Luckily, yellowing teeth are not a sign of a serious medical condition. And while it may be disheartening and confidence-shattering to feel like you’ve lost your best accessory—your bright, white smile—you can get it back. For starters, be aware of what causes yellowing, and how you can avoid or limit exposure to those things.
Your teeth can also start yellowing as a natural part of the aging process. This happens as the strong, white protective coating on teeth, known as enamel, fades over time because of everyday wear and tear on your teeth.
Tobacco products, from cigarettes and pipe smoke, stain teeth. If you consume these products, your teeth will darken over time.
When you do not routinely brush, floss and rinse your mouth to remove plaque build-up and tartar, this 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.
A less common cause of tooth discoloration can be either a disease that affects enamel, or the treatment of a disease, such as chemotherapy and/or radiation used to treat cancer. In this case, the discoloration is more of a brownish color.
It also may be possible that you inherited enamel that is more yellow than that of other people whose genes differ. If you notice your teeth are more yellow than you’d like, you can fix the issue by using any number of whitening strips, toothpastes and rinses to restore your bright smile.