Teeth can become gradually darker due to a number of reasons. Some of the yellowing can be addressed with general dentistry methods, but some staining may be permanent. You might be surprised at how much brighter your smile can look if you take action – even if you only brighten them by a little, however. To find out why teeth tend to be yellow and what can be done, read on.
What Causes Teeth to Yellow?
Certain genetic and medical issues can cause teeth to become yellow in children. Things like medications taken during pregnancy, antibiotics in babies, acne medications, and cancer treatments can impact developing teeth and create darker shadings. Stains that have existed since childhood may be more difficult to whiten. For adults, the most common factors for yellowing teeth include:
- Drinking certain beverages like tea, coffee, soft drinks (like Coke), and red wine.
- Eating certain foods like berries, vegetables like tomatoes, and spices like curry.
- Smoking and using other products that contain nicotine.
- The older you get, the more likely you are to have darker teeth since the enamel begins to wear off as you age.
- Improper dental hygiene. Regular professional cleanings can help brighten your smile.
What Can Be Done to Whiten Your Teeth?
Beyond going in for regular check-ups and cleanings, you can also do your best to avoid the above causes of yellowing. Many people should drink more water and this simple remedy can work wonders for keeping teeth clean and brighter. The most effective way to deal with teeth that are already yellowed is to use a bleaching agent. There are several choices in the way the bleach is delivered to your teeth.
- Dentists usually offer teeth whitening with higher percentages of active bleach than that in at-home methods. Doing it this way can result in faster whitening. The process involves an application of bleaching gel to the teeth, often accompanied by an LED (light-emitting diode) light to enhance the effect. It can take several sessions to achieve the desired results and you can expect the procedure to take anywhere from half an hour up to about an hour.
- If you want to do your whitening at home, your dentist may offer you a kit that contains the same bleach applied at the dental office. These kits usually come complete with everything you need, from trays to LED light.
- Alternately, there are many over-the-counter teeth-whitening products for home use. These include pens, trays, strips, and special toothpastes.
Talk to your dentist about how you can raise your teeth from yellow to white in the least amount of time.