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You brush your teeth every day and have probably tried whitening toothpaste. But your teeth are still yellow. Why is that so? And is there a way to fix this?
In this article, I’ll take you through the reasons for your question “Why Are My Teeth Yellow When I Brush Them every day?” and teach you briefly the ways to prevent or treat yellow teeth.
What Gives Our Teeth Color?
Our teeth are made out of many layers. The outermost “Enamel” layer has a natural hue of white however the underlying dentine layer has a slightly yellowish color.
This yellow color shows through the outer enamel in almost everyone but more so for those with naturally thinner or translucent enamels.
Therefore the first possible reason why your teeth are yellow even though you brush them every day is simply because you might have thinner or more translucent enamels or perhaps your dentine layer has a more yellowish hue.
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Is It Natural?
It’s natural. You’re born with it and, just like skin color, it’s worth celebrating because that is what makes us all unique.
Often times our teeth are whiter when we’re younger and more yellowish as we age because firstly, baby teeth have more opaque enamel layers.
And secondly, as we age our enamels get worn down revealing the natural color of dentine.
Causes Teeth Discoloration
Now tooth discoloration caused by staining is mainly divided into two big groups: Extrinsic staining and Intrinsic staining.
It is also classified according to color, but for this article, I'll only be focusing on white yellow, and brown stains.
1) Factors Causing Extrinsic straining
Extrinsic stainings are caused by stains coming from outside of the teeth which affect the enamel layer surface.
#1 Poor Oral Hygiene.
Forgetting to brush and floss your teeth can cause plaque to build up and stain the teeth but if you brush every day and visit the dentist regularly this likely isn’t the cause of why your teeth are yellow.
The number one cause of tooth yellowing is a lifestyle. Teeth-staining food and beverages like coffee, tea, wine, curry, potatoes, and so on can seep into the enamel and cause discoloration.
To prevent that, all you need to do is to reduce the amount of time these foods and drinks come in contact with your teeth.
Some tips I find helpful are
Use a straw when drinking. But make sure to put it a bit far behind and swallow the liquid immediately instead of swishing it around in your mouth.
Number two is to gargle with plain water after every meal to rid those stains before it seeps in further into your teeth.
If you want to go the extra mile you can also brush your teeth after meals but do make sure to have at least a 30 minute time window before brushing.
#3 Wrong Lifestyle Habbits
Lifestyle habits like smoking or chewing tobacco can turn your teeth yellow or brown. This is caused by tar and nicotine in cigarettes.
Are you a smoker? If you brush every day but continue to smoke, tobacco could be the reason why your teeth aren’t pearly white.
Another factor that causes extrinsic staining is the prolonged usage of mouthwash containing chlorhexidine or cetylpyridinium chloride.
These types of antibacterial mouthwashes are prescribed by your dentist only if you need them and are not meant to be used for a prolonged period. Usually, the maximum is about two weeks.
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Factors Causing Intrisic Staining
Intrinsic stainings on the other hand occur by absorption of pigments into the tooth structure itself, making these stains more difficult to remove.
Some of the causes are excessive fluoride intake, injury to the tooth, root canal materials, tetracycline medications, and infections.
All these terms may sound a bit foreign to you and I’ll talk more about them in my future articles. As for today I’ll be only focusing on the first point since it’s the most common type of intrinsic staining.
Fluoride is recognized as the OG mineral for dental health. Overexposure to fluoride during the first eight years of life can cause mild tooth discoloration called fluorosis.
Fun Fact: It's a key ingredient in our toothpaste and because it's so beneficial the Malaysian government even treated our public water supply with a very very low concentration of fluoride since 1972 as a public health measure to prevent and treat dental decay.
Because this is the time when most of our adult teeth are being formed in our jaws. Do not get me wrong though fluoride is absolutely necessary too much fluoride can cause fluorosis.
Once they have erupted into the mouth, the teeth of those affected by fluorosis may appear mildly discolored and prone to the accumulation of surface stains.
Did you know Why do children tend to swallow toothpaste?
Children tend to swallow toothpaste because of the added flavorers in them. So if you’re a parent it’s crucial to supervise your child during tooth brushing to ensure that they are doing it properly by only using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and also spitting it out after toothbrushing to prevent ingestion and fluorosis in the future.
If you have hereditary defects or metabolic disorders, the teeth color that you have may be due to your underlying disease. Like-
- Ehler Danlos Syndrom
- Dentinogenesis Imperfecta
- Amelogenesis Imperfecta
- Molar incisor hypominerazation
- Epidermolysis Bolas
- Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria
- Congenital Hyperbilirubinaemia
- Vitamin D Dependent Rackests
Inshort Reasons Why Are Your Teeth Yellow When You Brush Them Everyday
So after listening to my lengthy explanation, I hope you can finally see that the color of your teeth is being affected by so so many factors.
They can be yellow but normal; yellow due to stains- whether external or internal; or yellow due to complex genetic reasons.
Treatments For Teeth Whitening
Therefore to be able to pinpoint what exactly is causing your tooth discoloration is important in order to treat it effectively and to prevent it from recurring.
Lucky for all of us, research in dentistry over the years has developed suitable treatments for discolored teeth such as
- Bleaching (Also famously known as Teeth Whitening)
- Resin infiltrations for mild fluorosis
- Direct restoration such as composite fillings and veneers
- Indirect restoration such as ceramic veneers or crowns for more severe cases
All these different treatments have their pros and cons. And that includes their effectiveness, success rates, invasiveness, side effects, costs and etc.
It can be daunting to try to pick the right treatment for yourself but don’t worry. All this information should be communicated to you by your dentist after a proper checkup and discussed together with you to decide on a suitable treatment plan after considering all relevant factors.
Myth Buster For Why Are My Teeth Yellow When I Brush Them Everyday?
One huge myth that we’re gonna debunk today is “The more you brush the whiter your teeth will become”. I guess most of you know by now that this statement is only true to a limited extent.
This is because once superficial stains are removed brushing more and brushing harder can no longer whiten out teeth. In fact, it will do more harm than good leading to dental abrasions and gum recession.
Even though whiter teeth are often included as one of the benefits of regular and thorough toothbrushing, some people won’t be able to brush away the yellow.
This is mainly due to the nature of the tooth discoloration. But before we go further, let’s first understand what gives out tooth color!
Okay so after telling you all these, there’s one important takeaway that I hope for you to remember, that is, white teeth do not equate to strong teeth.
In many cases, clean and healthy natural teeth are in fact, slightly yellow. Despite being a dentist, I do not have the whitest teeth around here and that’s okay, as long as they are clean and healthy.
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If teeth whitening is repeated too many times and not following the proper time interval, there is a risk of teeth sensitivity.
It is also really dangerous to purchase dodgy teeth whitening kits online and use them on your teeth!
I do have friends and family asking me if it’s okay to buy this whitening kit and that whitening kit… and my advice to them is to only get your teeth whitening done with a certified dentist.
FAQ on Why Are My Teeth Yellow When I Brush Them Everyday?
Why Are My Teeth Yellow When I Brush Them Everyday?
Yellow teeth happen mainly because of three main reasons that are naturally, by genetics, or by staining. So even if you brush your teeth regularly you still have yellow teeth because of one of these reasons.
How Yellow are My Teeth?
It may be because of genetic problems, dentine, or maybe because of other intrinsic or extrinsic reasons given in this article.
If I Have White Teeth does it mean I Have Strong Teeth?
No! Even if you have a white and shining tooth it doesn’t require that you have strong teeth. It’s a totally different topic. Teeth coloration causes from so many different reasons that given in this article
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Which Genetic Disorders Causes Yellow Teeth?
These are some of the disorders caused teeth yellowing
Ehler Danlos Syndrom
Vitamin D Dependent Rackets