Do you ever look at pictures of models with gleaming white teeth and wonder why yours don't look like that? Have your teeth yellowed over the years or since you took medications for a health condition? Are you a smoker or coffee drinker with stained teeth? Today we'll explore how to get rid of yellow teeth including 5 tips for getting whiter teeth.
Our patients frequently ask us about how to brighten their yellow teeth. Yellowing or stained teeth can happen at any time, but you do have several teeth whitening options to improve your smile without causing any harm to the teeth's enamel surface.
Before you try any home remedy or schedule a whitening appointment with your cosmetic dentist, you should know more about why some teeth appear discolored and what options you might have to lighten your smile.
What Causes Yellow Teeth?
Yellowing teeth are not always your fault. Tooth color has some variation naturally, so your genetics may also determine it to some degree.
Tobacco and red wine can also cause tooth stains, as do tea and coffee. Foods such as blueberries, cherries, beets, and pomegranates-foods that stain clothing or table linens-can have the same effect on your teeth. Even certain medications (such as some antihistamines or antibiotics) or health conditions (including oral trauma or poor dental hygiene) may lead to tooth discoloration.
Of course, even if you brush and floss regularly, you may notice your teeth yellowing as you get older. Over time, your outer layer of tooth enamel gets thinner, revealing more of the yellow dentin layer underneath. While age is yet another factor contributing to discoloration, you can reverse the clock for your pearly whites.
Types of Tooth Stains
Before you stock up on whitening toothpaste or other products, you may want to understand more about the different kinds of tooth stains. After all, they may not respond the same way to whitening treatments, so it helps to know what you are dealing with. These are the three main types of tooth stains.
Extrinsic stains - Foods and beverages typically cause these stains. They stay on the tooth enamel (the outer layer) making them easier to remove because the stain is on the surface.
Intrinsic stains - Stains that go deeper below the enamel to the dentin (the soft layer underneath the enamel) may need a more potent whitening treatment.
Age-related stains - Resulting from changes in your teeth or body over time, these stains are also below the enamel and are more challenging to eradicate.
Once we determine which kind of tooth stains you have, we can recommend the best treatment options that make a significant difference in the surface stains or deeper discoloration.
How to Get Rid of Yellow Teeth
Now let's talk about getting rid of your yellow teeth and falling in love with your whiter, brighter smile. You may have heard about home remedies from friends and family or found some online. Some may work for mild extrinsic stains, while others are less effective or have no scientific evidence to support their whitening claims.
Here are some of the more popular home whitening remedies:
- Oil Pulling - This method involves swishing your mouth with one or two teaspoons of coconut oil for about 10 to 30 minutes. When you have finished swishing, you simply spit out the oil, rinse your mouth, and drink a full glass of water to hydrate. Some people believe that oil pulling brightens your teeth by ridding your mouth of bacteria and reducing inflammation.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - This standard household product acts as a mouthwash, but the acids in apple cider vinegar can weaken your tooth enamel and cause decay.
- Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide - Some people mix these two products to make a paste to whiten teeth. The combination may work on mild teeth stains, but you may not notice any difference for six weeks or so. If you want to try this treatment, be gentle when you brush since baking soda can be abrasive and damaging to enamel. Also, be sure to spit out any hydrogen peroxide, as it is not safe to swallow.
- Fruit Pulp or Peels - Another home remedy involves mashing strawberries and putting on your teeth or rubbing banana or citrus peels on surface stains. Like apple cider vinegar, these methods may do more harm than good.
- Activated Charcoal - Some kinds of toothpaste include charcoal as an ingredient, and while it can remove plaque that can lead to teeth stains, it can also be too harsh for regular use.
Aside from baking soda used alone or with hydrogen peroxide, these home remedies are less effective than treatments your dentist can offer. At Peach Valley Dental, we have two alternatives: in-office treatments for faster results or at-home treatments that work gradually.
These are the methods we prefer our patients use to get rid of tooth discoloration:
- Bleaching Trays - This whitening option puts the power of teeth whitening in your control. We make custom trays that fit your mouth and give you bleaching gel to use at home. You can use this method to get your teeth as light as you want, then just use it occasionally to maintain your brighter smile. Be aware, however, that this convenient and popular option can increase your teeth's sensitivity. You may want to allow your teeth time to adjust by using your trays for only a short time.
- In-Office Bleaching - We use a concentrated product for a very brief time to quickly deliver a brighter smile. This method also reduces the sensitivity that some patients may have with bleaching trays they use at home.
If treatment cost or sensitive teeth concern you, you may want to look for over-the-counter treatments at your local drug store. These include whitening strips, whitening toothpaste, mouth rinses, or a weaker solution for standard trays. While you may notice some improvement with these methods, they will take time and may provide more subtle results.
Do not underestimate the effectiveness of regular brushing and flossing, especially after you eat or drink. Preventive dental care and cleanings are some of the best ways to keep your teeth healthy, clean, and bright.
Find a Professional Teeth-Whitening Dentist
Instead of relying on home remedies that may not work, turn to our dentist in Atlanta to learn how to get rid of yellow teeth. Call Peach Valley Dental at 3040 Briarcliff Road in Atlanta, GA, at (404) 254-5196, or schedule a convenient online dental appointment. We can discuss your options for a whiter smile that you will be happy to share.
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