Picture the perfect pair of chompers. The pearliest pair of pearly whites. The brightest set of chiclets.
You didn’t picture any yellow did you? That’s because we’ve been brought up – to think of “good” teeth as “white teeth” – and there’s some truth behind it. That’s because a set of naturally white teeth is a good indicator that the teeth are healthy, have no underlying problems, and have plenty of dentin left to protect them. Which leads us to our next point.
What many patients in our Garden Grove Dentist’s office don’t fully understand is that the whiteness of your teeth can come from a couple underlying sources: your dentin and your enamel. Dentin is the innermost living tissue of your teeth, and it’s very important. Once your dentin goes away – it’s hard to get back. The other component of dental whiteness is your enamel. The enamel is the hard outer shell of the tooth, which is actually clear. So if the color inside your tooth is black – your enamel, like a window to your tooth’s soul, will show it.
The thing is, while enamel (the outer shell) is relatively simple to whiten with over the counter or in-office bleaching methods, it can be almost impossible to “whiten” the inside tissue of your tooth. While yellowing of your enamel is just a stain, yellowing of the dentin is the evidence of a long-term aging process that you really can’t reverse.
So how do you prevent the dentin from yellowing?
Staining doesn’t happen just because you’re getting older. While more exposure to staining foods like berries, wine, coffee, and tea will stain your enamel, the less-reversible staining that occurs with your dentin is related to more serious problems
- Dental Grinding / Bruxism: grinding your teeth is one of the leading causes of premature yellowing because of the vertical stress it puts on them. The average nighttime grinder puts enough force on their teeth to really damage them. This leads to premature damage and aging – and in some cases, can even lead to irreversible dental damage. When teeth yellow prematurely – it’s often because the patient is a grinder.
- A bad diet: a bad diet will rot a tooth from the outside in. If you’re malnourish or taking certain aggressive medications – teeth can often become more yellow because of how your diet is accelerating the aging process.
- Injury: If you’ve ever seen someone with a single “dead” tooth you’ll know what it looks like. Many times, a tooth that has taken a hit (or more) will begin to yellow much faster. That’s because the injury it received is drastically speeding up its aging process.
To prevent these issues from contributing to rapidly yellowing teeth – get to the bottom of the problem. A night guard will prevent dental grinding, a mouth guard will prevent injuries during sport and other activities, and a better lifestyle all-around will ensure your teeth get the nourishment they need to give you a full lifetime of service.
Have questions for our dentists in Garden Grove? We’re here to help.