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Honestly, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to safely whiten your teeth. You don’t even have to wait for your next dental appointment. You can do it right from your home like me!
I have been able to whiten my own teeth right from the comfort of my home by doing some very simple things that I’m going to be sharing with you.
Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?
Here are some reasons…
1) Poor Dental Hygiene
Failing to brush your teeth twice a day and to floss them once a day can lead to plaque building up, particularly at the gum margins which is the junction where your teeth meet the gums.
Plaque only needs a day or two to harden into tartar, a yellowish substance that can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist. Plaque can also trap other food particles that will increase the stains on your teeth.
If you have your teeth professionally cleaned at regular intervals, then you’ve probably already noticed that they look a little whiter after this treatment, as all the tartar will have been scraped away.
If you like to smoke, then you may have noticed brown or yellow stains appearing on your teeth that you simply cannot remove through regular brushing.
These stains are caused by the nicotine and tar content found in tobacco products, so the higher the ratio of these products, the faster your teeth will become stained. You only need to smoke cigarettes, cigars or pipes for a very short while for your teeth to begin to yellow.
Some people are blessed with having whiter teeth than others, and this is largely down to having a thicker layer of tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of your tooth and has a white appearance.
It protects the much softer layer of dentin that lies just underneath, and the dentin contains your natural tooth color. If you have a thinner layer of enamel then this natural color is more likely to shine through, and it’s highly likely to be quite yellow or even gray in appearance.
There are also certain genetic defects that can affect the development of the tooth enamel, as for example dentinogenesis imperfecta is a condition where the teeth are covered with an abnormally thin and soft layer of enamel that can make the teeth appear yellow, and this layer is easily damaged.
It actually stems from the same reason they get sunburned so easily. Their ectoderm (one of the layers of the skin) also helps make up tooth enamel. This layer is sometimes thinner in redheads.
Because of this, their dentin (which is often yellow or gray) is shown through their teeth, giving them a yellowish or grayish color.
Also, as you age, your enamel gets thinner and exposes the dentin so your teeth may not be as bright as they used to be.
So if you’re in your 70’s, for example, be careful about spending a ton of money on whitening treatments. Due to your thinned enamel, they may have very little (if any) impact.
It’s a sad fact of life that younger people have whiter teeth than older people, and this is one of the reasons why white teeth are often associated with youth.
As we age the layer of enamel protecting our teeth tends to become thinner as it is simply worn away, exposing more of the underlying dentin color. The aging process also accounts for the fact that teeth can look more transparent on the tips or biting edges.
If you look at the teeth of an older person and compare them to that of younger person, then you’ll notice these biting edges look translucent or almost blue or gray in color, and again this is simply down to the tooth enamel gradually thinning.
5) Older Dental Restorations
If you have older dental restorations in your mouth, in particular old composite fillings then you might notice these begin to yellow after a few years.
This is because composite resin is quite susceptible towards staining, and your best option is to have these fillings renewed. Composite fillings have a limited life and do need replacing every few years. Having older style amalgam fillings can also create dark areas in your mouth that may make it look as if your teeth are stained.
Certain antibiotics, in particular tetracycline and doxycycline, are known to discolor children’s teeth if they are exposed to these medications before the age of eight. This is because their teeth are still developing at this stage.
Other medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines and drugs for high blood pressure can also discolor teeth.
Some mouth rinses such as those containing chlorhexidine or cetylpridinium chloride can also stain teeth.
Your dentist may recommend you to use a mouthwash containing chlorhexidine if you have recently had oral surgery, or if you have any oral health issues.
However these types of mouthwashes are generally not recommended for long-term use and it’s worth reading the label very carefully to see whether or not they will cause yellow teeth.
The good news is that these types of stains can be removed by your dental hygienist during professional cleanings.
7) Excessive Exposure to Fluoride
If you were exposed to excessive levels of fluoride as a child then it’s possible you may have developed yellow or brown stains on your teeth.
This usually happens due to exposure to naturally occurring fluoride that is present in drinking water, but it can occasionally occur due to excessive use of fluoride toothpaste or other fluoride rinses.
This type of stain is what’s known as an intrinsic stain, which means it’s actually in the body of the tooth as opposed to being a surface or extrinsic stain.
Intrinsic stains don’t respond particularly well to teeth whitening and will generally need to be masked in another way, for example through using veneers or crowns.
Certain diseases and infections can affect the tooth enamel, leading to it becoming yellow or discolored. These may be infections that occur during pregnancy, and which affect the tooth development of the unborn baby.
Radiation and chemotherapy treatment for head and neck cancers can also increase the risk of teeth yellowing. The reason for this is because these therapies can affect the production of saliva, and this can lead to plaque building up in the mouth, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
If you are receiving treatment for head or neck cancer then it is especially important that you take good care of your teeth, and your dentist will probably consult with your cancer specialists to work out a suitable treatment plan.
Tips for Whitening Your Teeth at Home
1) Get a good toothbrush. Read why I believe buying an electronic toothbrush is a great investment.
Results Will Vary
I should also mention that the level of whitening will vary from person to person. Redheads aren’t the only people who may have thinner enamel.
So if your dentin is exposed more than someone else’s then it may be more difficult to whiten your teeth as much as you’d like to.
As I already stated, genetics definitely play a role!
What’s the Fastest Way to Get Your Teeth White?
Obviously how quickly you see results is going to depend on how yellow your teeth are.
If your teeth are only slightly yellow, you can use the tip below for a quick refresh.
I was actually able to significantly brighten my dull teeth pretty quickly because my teeth were not that stained to begin with.
I started by switching to the Sonicare toothbrush then I tried a box of Crest Whitestrips (that I no longer use). I saw results from the whitestrips almost instantly because my teeth were already in pretty good shape.
Just be realistic. If your teeth are very stained, nothing is going to whiten your teeth fast unless you get a professional bleaching or zoom whitening treatment.
For the record, I’ve never used anything professional. I’ve only utilized at-home, DIY treatments with supervision of my dentist.
In other words, always consult with a professional before you use any of these products.
You should too!
Foods That Help Whiten Teeth and Prevent Plaque
Many foods stimulate saliva and help fight bacteria that causes plaque build-up. Check out the infographic below for some tips you’ve probably never heard of before.
Feel free to share with your favorite social networks. Your friends will be impressed!
Don’t Forget Your Overall Oral Health
There’s no point in trying to get rid of your yellow teeth if you are going to neglect other areas. You should strive for a healthy mouth by having fresh breath and healthy gums.
Feel free to drop me a line in the comment box below if you have any questions!