Can Yellow Teeth Be Whitened?

woman smiling with clean teeth

It’s normal for your teeth to become increasingly yellow as you age. Staining from foods and drinks, lifestyle habits, and even medications all play a part in the appearance of your teeth. But although yellowing teeth are often no cause for concern, many folks are seeking effective solutions to whiten their smile. 

The good news? Yellow teeth can be whitened using at-home or professional whitening methods. Depending on the nature of the discoloration, there are multiple options available to transform your smile. Here are some of the most common tooth whitening methods to consider for a brighter, more confident smile!

Why Do Teeth Become Yellow?

Diet – Yellow teeth are often the result of your diet. Beverages like coffee, tea, soda, and red wine are all common culprits for tooth discoloration. Additionally, foods high in acidity like citrus, berries, or tomatoes, may also damage your enamel and lead to discoloration down the road.

Lifestyle – Certain lifestyle choices contribute to tooth discoloration and staining. Smoking and tobacco use can stain teeth and damage enamel and may lead to long-term discoloration.

Medication – Certain treatments like chemotherapy may cause discoloration in your teeth. Additionally some prescription medications may contribute to discoloration.

Age – It’s natural for teeth to become discolored as you age. Consistent use over decades will wear away enamel on healthy teeth, making them look yellow.

Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Stains

There are two primary types of tooth stains that occur. Determining which type of discoloration you have will help you develop a treatment plan.

Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic stains are caused by diet, habits, and poor hygiene. These stains are superficial, and typically only penetrate the outer layer of enamel. For this reason, extrinsic stains are easier to remedy and can be treated using a variety of over-the-counter and professional treatment options.

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic stains stem from a deeper issue or factor that causes your teeth to become discolored. Intrinsic stains may be caused by factors like medications or trauma to the tooth. These stains are usually more difficult to treat, and often require treatment from a dental professional.

At-Home Treatments

Before you book an appointment at the dentist’s office, there are several simple at-home solutions that effectively improve stains.

  1. Whitening Toothpaste – Swap out your regular toothpaste and make the switch to a whitening formula. Whitening toothpastes use lightly abrasive ingredients to remove surface stains and leave your teeth looking brighter and healthier. While whitening toothpaste is a fantastic solution for many, be aware that it might not work well for individuals who are prone to sensitive teeth. Due to their abrasive nature, whitening formulas may inflame sensitive teeth and gums.

  2. OTC Whitening Strips – Your local drugstore will likely have a large selection of tooth whitening solutions. Options like whitening strips, gels, and trays utilize peroxide-based ingredients to whiten your teeth at home.

  3. Oral Hygiene – It goes without saying that a little oral hygiene goes a long way. Make sure you’re brushing with toothpaste at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. For an extra fresh feeling, try using mouthwash to clean all the nooks and crannies.

Dentist-Facilitated Treatments

For some patients with more stubborn staining, or who experience a sudden change in tooth coloration, the best option is to go directly to the dentist for treatment. Dentist offices offer top-quality services when it comes to tooth whitening. Most offices use a combination of bleaching agents and high-intensity lights to clean stubborn stains. This type of treatment addresses the tooth’s inner layers, rather than just the exterior, so it’s a great option for those with intrinsic staining. Plus, in-office treatments typically last much longer, so your smile is brighter for years after treatment.

Transforming Your Smile at Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry

At Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry we’re committed to providing our patients with a comfortable visit to the dentist. We pride ourselves in our state-of-the-art facilities, offering our patients a chance to kick back and relax. At Treasured Smiles, we offer dental treatments ranging from cosmetic dentistry, to dental procedures, to routine cleanings. Our highly-trained staff are compassionate, knowledgeable and dedicated to helping you have a pleasant visit. Contact us today to set up your first appointment!