Why Teeth Turn Yellow in Adults and Children


Teeth turn yellow for several reasons. Tooth enamel itself is almost transparent, and the color of the tooth is mainly determined by the dentin. It can range in color from light yellow to dark brown. Yellow teeth are one of those dental problems that every adult faces. It should be understood that human teeth cannot be naturally white. The color of eyes, skin, hair, and teeth is determined genetically at birth.

Often, you will notice that the teeth turning yellow with age. There is an explanation for this. It's all about the thickness and density of the enamel – young people usually have such a layer more uniform, dense, and durable. Dentin is less visible and the smile visually has a lighter shade. Separately, it’s worth considering the natural color of the teeth in children. Milk teeth differ from permanent teeth in structure, wall thickness, roots, including color. Healthy temporary teeth will have a white color with a cold tint. With the advent of permanent occlusion in children, the yellow teeth reason can be explained by heredity. Very often the shape and color of a child's teeth will be very similar to one of the parents.

Yellow Teeth Causes

Enamel discoloration is associated with various factors. First of all, this is due to heredity. The shade of enamel is genetically programmed and is determined by its mineral composition. Naturally yellow teeth, in the absence of concomitant pathologies, are highly resistant to bacteria. In addition, there are other factors what causes teeth to turn yellow:

  • Taking certain medications – most often, such drugs are tetracycline antibiotics;
  • The presence of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and internal organs – many systemic diseases affect the health and appearance of a smile;
  • The formation of plaque – in this case, the enamel does not suffer directly but is only covered with a dense layer of plaque that changes color. However, if plaque is not removed, it hardens and can cause cavities;
  • Caries and their complications may be one of the reasons why teeth turn yellow. Gray or whitish spots on the enamel progress over time, completely changing the color of the tooth to dark brown or even black;
  • Injury to the teeth – often the complaint is a sharp darkening of one tooth, often the front. This is because of damage or death of the pulp (nerve), due to which a hematoma forms inside the tooth, which stains its tissues;
  • Endodontic treatment performed – previously white teeth going yellow and dull if the doctor used outdated filling materials or did not properly remove the pulp;
  • Yellow teeth from smoking – A change in the color of the enamel in this case occurs as a result of damage to the enamel and the deposition of pigmenting substances in it. Nicotine resins impregnate the structure of the teeth and settle on their surface with a dense film, which cannot be removed without the help of a dental hygienist;
  • Frequent use of coloring drinks – tea, coffee, red wine, juices, and cola contains dyes and pigments that affect the color of the teeth. Add to this the high acidity of these drinks and their effect on the enamel – and you get yellow teeth.

Some mouthwashes are an important addition to daily dental care. They reduce bacteria and prevent plaque from sticking to the surface of the teeth. However, highly concentrated medicinal mouth rinses, such as those used after oral surgery or during periodontal therapy, can be one of the yellow teeth causes after intensive and prolonged use.

Yellow Teeth Treatment

If your teeth have always been yellow or have changed color over time, it’s natural to want to lighten them. However, any impact should be discussed with the dentist first. It’s important to understand what makes your teeth yellow, assess the condition of the enamel, and, depending on this, carry out further procedures. Therapeutic tactics for yellow teeth depend on the cause of such an aesthetic defect. For example, if the teeth are yellowed due to plaque, smoking, or frequent use of strong coffee/tea, then a hygiene procedure in the dentist's chair using Air Flow technology – sandblasting may be enough. This allows you to turn yellow teeth to white color, brightening the shade of the enamel by 1-2 tones.

If the patient believes that his teeth are yellow since birth, then in this case, a teeth whitening procedure can be recommended. However, it should be noted that professional oral hygiene is mandatory before such a procedure. After bleaching, it is recommended to conduct a course of remineralizing therapy aimed at strengthening the teeth and preventing the development of hypersensitivity. The lighting effect can be supported by home care, which your dentist will select for you. In cases where teeth whitening is ineffective, it is recommended to install veneers or crowns that cover the aesthetic defect. Thus, the problem of yellow teeth is easily solved thanks to different methods and approaches of modern dentistry.

The first method is professional teeth cleaning in dentistry, which can eliminate several causes of yellowing of the enamel at once. The procedure is carried out to remove plaque and clean the surface of the teeth and subgingival space. Specialists use combined methods – ultrasonic vibrations and Air-Flow system. Thus, it’s possible to restore the smile to its natural appearance and color. The result is so striking that some patients mistake hygiene for whitening, although the hygienist simply cleans the surfaces of the teeth without interfering with their structure.

There are also a large number of yellow teeth cleaning products for self-use, but the safest is professional home whitening. This procedure involves the use of a whitening gel of a safe concentration and individual trays on the dentition. Depending on the initial situation in the oral cavity and the wishes of the patient, the dentist prescribes a course of procedures to be carried out at home on his own. If you follow the recommendations, whitening passes without complications and gradually provides a visible, lasting result.

The Best Way to Whiten Yellow Teeth

Which yellow teeth treatment to choose? This question is asked by a person who has already decided to make his smile snow-white but has not yet decided which technology will help him with this. It’s important to remember that the best way to whiten your teeth is to visit an aesthetic dentist who will perform the procedure professionally and efficiently.

Among all professional systems, laser teeth whitening stands out, and has several advantages. For those who prefer the result here and now, this will be the best choice. The procedure is carried out in one session, completely under the supervision of a doctor, and has an excellent result – you can lighten your teeth by 8-12 tones. The procedure restores the natural color of the teeth and has a long-term effect.

Unlike photobleaching, the laser beam does not heat the tooth tissue, which eliminates the risk of overheating or pulp burns. The tissues of the tooth are whitened, but no harm is done to them. In addition, this procedure takes a short period, on average 10-20 minutes. As for high results, laser whitening helps to achieve the greatest whiteness, since the laser radiation has a dense directional beam, and the light from the lamp is scattered, which slows down the effect of the whitening gel.

The laser allows the doctor to choose the most accurate parameters of the intensity and duration of exposure, which means that the whole process becomes controllable. That is why laser whitening is considered the best way to whiten yellow teeth. It acts locally and impulsively, which eliminates the possibility of thermal damage to the gums and the appearance of any discomfort during the procedure.

After whitening, it’s important to follow a white diet for the first time – to exclude all coloring drinks and food from the diet. In addition, maintain the condition of your teeth with proper oral care. It is the observance of the recommendations of the dentist that will help to keep the snow-white smile as long as possible.