Yellow teeth: why do they stain?

Dossier : White teeth: how can you rediscover a bright white smile?

Yellow teeth solutions

Teeth often lose their brightness over the course of time, tending to turn yellow or to stain. The culprits? In the majority of cases, yellow teeth are due to external colouring factors, most often food-based. These colourings obscure the teeth which become increasingly yellow. 
 

DENTAL HERITAGE

Genes determine the initial colour of teeth and its evolution over time with age. They will play on the transparency of the teeth as well as on their thickness, directly responsible for the colour. 

→ Practical advice

An opaque and thick tooth reacts better to dentists' teeth whitening treatments. Transparency is the sole element which cannot be corrected by a whitening treatment. Visit your dentist so that they can identify the source of your teeth's discolouration.

DIETARY HABITS IN QUESTION

Certain dietary habits such as the regular consumption of red wine, coffee, tea, cola or other coloured beverages affect the colour of the teeth. They act on two levels:

1.Tooth enamel is naturally white. Coffee and tea consumed in large quantities will leave a deposit on your teeth which will end up penetrating the enamel.

2.Acidic foods such as citrus fruit or vinegar contribute to the erosion of enamel. Result: Tooth enamel becomes thinner and transparent As a consequence, the dentine, yellow in colour, shows through more easily. The teeth appear more yellow.

→ Practical advice

With the yellow colour of the teeth being due, in part, to poor dietary habits, the first preventative action to adopt is, quite simply, to limit the consumption of foods that stain. No need to prohibit the consumption of tea, coffee or acidic foods. Simply avoid excess.

TARTAR: A FACTOR IN THE DISCOLOURATION OF TEETH

Plaque forms after each meal. Bacteria, saliva and food residues combine to form a film (biofilm) which solidifies around the teeth to form plaque. In calcifying, plaque transforms into what is commonly known as tartar. Tartar threatens the health of the teeth and gums but it also has an aesthetic impact. In fact, it gives teeth a greyish appearance.  It forms more or less quickly depending on the individual, in accordance with various factors:

  • Quality of brushing: the better plaque is removed, the less tartar will be able to develop
  • Saliva: according to pH variations, the buffering capacity, quantity, etc
  • Exogenous factors: tobacco, radiation and some medication can cause a decrease or suppression of the saliva flow and therefore an increased risk of plaque - and thus tartar - developing

MEDICATION WHICH CAUSES TEETH TO YELLOW

Some medications can stain teeth. For example: taking tetracycline, an antibiotic, can leave dark grey or brown streaks. 

Fluoride helps fight against tooth decay. This is why it is recommended that children be given fluoride supplements. However, while teeth are forming, excessive fluoride intake via fluoride toothpastes, fluoride-rich drinking water or the prescription of supplements, can lead to fluorosis which manifests itself in little white flecks on the teeth. 

IMPACTS AND FISSURES: POSSIBLE CAUSES OF THE YELLOWING

Grinding, falls and injuries can be directly responsible for fissures and microfissures of the tooth enamel. These crevices represent ideal deposit sites, which will darken the dentition.

Ref: J&J internal data

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