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Why Your Teeth Get Stained and What You Can Do About It

Updated on June 3, 2010

If you're anything like most people, chances are that your teeth have become stained over time. Yellow teeth can look both unhealthy and unsightly so it's little wonder that teeth whitening is becoming increasingly popular.

Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?

In most cases, it's because the tooth enamel has started to wear away, exposing the yellow-tinged layer underneath. On top of this, teeth can become stained for a number of reasons. For example, teeth tend to get more yellow as you get older due to mineral changes, and the food and drink that you consume every day can also play a big part as this can erode your tooth enamel. If you smoke, nicotine is a major culprit for causing yellow teeth.

Chemical Teeth Whitening Procedures

Bleaching procedures are the one of the most common forms of teeth whitening. They work by using oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide to lighten the color of the teeth and cancel out the stain. If teeth whitening is performed on a regular basis, the dentin layer underneath the tooth enamel (which is naturally a yellowish shade) will also be bleached.

While you can buy home bleaching kits, it's advisable to get your teeth professionally whitened by a dentist so that you can be confident that nothing will go wrong. A cosmetic dentist is probably your best bet as this type of dentist is used to performing teeth whitening procedures on a more regular basis than a general dentist.

If you do go down the at home route, there are several options available to you, including:

  • Bleaching gels (which tend to be applied with guard trays)
  • Bleaching pens
  • Bleaching strips (which tend to fit over the front teeth for the most part)

For professional teeth whitening, the options can extend to include laser bleaching.

Natural Teeth Whitening Remedies

If the idea of having your teeth chemically bleached does not appeal to you, you may prefer a more natural approach. Some natural remedies that have been used to naturally whiten teeth include:

  • Lemons 
  • Baking soda
  • Strawberries
Are there any downsides to using these kind of teeth whitening remedies? Unfortunately, these methods aren't necessarily as good as they may first appear. For example, lemons and strawberries can naturally whiten your teeth but they contain a lot of acid which can remove calcium from your tooth enamel. While this will whiten your teeth, the end result will be teeth that are weaker than before. Baking soda is abrasive, which can damage your tooth enamel and gums. Natural teeth whitening options may look appealing due to their cheaper price tag, but they can do more damage than using home bleaching treatments. 


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      thank you for good information it is helpful sometimes

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for such great information.


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