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Can Very Yellow Teeth Be Whitened

Can Very Yellow Teeth Be Whitened?

Whether you’ve got stubborn stains, yellowed teeth or just want to brighten your pearly whites, teeth whitening can help.

Teeth whitening works by removing stains from the enamel and dentin—the hard surfaces of your teeth—and in some cases, it can even change the colour of your teeth. Your diet and environment can stain your teeth over time, but there are other reasons why your teeth may be discoloured.

As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth tends to thin out and become more porous. This causes the yellowish-brown dentin beneath to show through. Fluorosis can also cause grey spots on your teeth, while white spots are a telltale sign of fluorosis or leukoplakia.

Tooth Colour is Determined by Genetics, Diet & Environment

If you’re wondering why your teeth are the colour that they are, you might be surprised to find out it’s not from smoking or drinking red wine. Your tooth colour is determined by a combination of genetics, your diet and your environment.

While some factors may make stains worse, the intensity of tooth colour is largely inherited. The most common causes of yellowing teeth include age, diet and wear.

Tooth Enamel Becomes More Porous With Age

There are several causes for the yellowing of teeth. First, tooth enamel becomes more porous with age, gradually allowing the inner dentin layer to show through and making teeth look yellow. Smoking can also make your teeth yellow because tobacco smoke stains teeth. If you drink coffee or tea, those beverages can stain your teeth as well.

If a person’s diet or habits have stained their teeth, they might want to get their teeth whitened. Teeth bleaching is a process by which a dental professional removes discolouration from the tooth surface using hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide in concentrations up to 15%.

These chemicals break down the staining compounds on your enamel into smaller pigments that are more easily removed during brushing and whiten the entire surface of each tooth by 1-3 shades over the course of one hour at the dentist’s office.

Excessive Exposure to Fluoride During Tooth Development

Excessive exposure to fluoride during tooth development can also leave greyish-brown or dark brown spots on your teeth. This is caused by fluorosis, which usually happens when you swallow too much toothpaste as a child.

You’re at greater risk if you have fluoridated tap water and regularly consume beverages with high levels of fluoride, such as tea or soda. Fluorosis is more common in areas where the drinking water is fluoridated than in non-fluoridated areas.

Fluorosis can be mild enough that only a dentist would notice it, but in severe cases, the stains may be very noticeable. There are no treatment options for minor fluorosis, but severe cases can sometimes be bleached successfully.

White spots on the teeth can be caused by fluorosis, an eating disorder in which the person excessively uses fluoride toothpaste to induce vomiting, or leukoplakia, a precancerous condition that causes white patches inside the mouth due to irritation from smoking, poor oral hygiene or a rough filling.

Teeth Whitening Products Can Increase Tooth Sensitivity For Some People.

Teeth whitening products are safe for your enamel but can increase tooth sensitivity for some people, causing a short-lived dull ache after treatment. If you’re concerned about any of these side effects or want to know whether they’ll occur when you use a teeth-whitening product, talk to your dentist first.

If a toothache or other side effect is preventing you from using the product as directed, talk to your dentist about how to modify the usage schedule or what steps you can take to reduce the pain.

When Are Yellowing Teeth a Concern?

If you have very yellowed or discoloured teeth, it’s a good idea to see your dentist for a thorough exam. A dental professional can help determine the cause of your discolouration and discuss treatment options with you.

It’s important to identify the cause of your tooth discolouration before deciding on a treatment plan. If the cause is something like food stains from drinking red wine, coffee or tea, then teeth whitening may be enough to solve the problem.

However, if there are deeper underlying concerns causing tooth discolouration, then a more involved treatment may be necessary (e.g., crowns or veneers).


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