For most people, it’s understood that teeth generally become more discolored — and more yellow — with age. Over the years, external factors combine to gradually darken and discolor the teeth.
But is there a way that yellow teeth could somehow be avoided? Or is tooth discoloration simply an inevitable part of getting older?
Unfortunately, there is often nothing one can do to avoid tooth discoloration over the course of one’s lifetime. According to a New York Times QandA, at least two structural changes take place within the teeth over time to make them appear more yellow with age. As we age, our enamel — the tooth’s outer protective coating — grows thinner, while our dentin — the layer beneath the enamel — grows thicker.
The thinning of enamel is often precipitated by the consumption of acidic foods and drinks. This process gradually reveals more of the dentin’s natural yellow-brown color. Additionally, when the enamel is worn away, the teeth are more vulnerable to discoloration from outside coloring agents.
Depending on your genetics, these effects over time may be more or less apparent. Some people have thicker enamel than others, and the color of dentin varies from person to person, as well.
However, there are a few things you can do to reduce the yellowing of your teeth over time. By reducing your sugar consumption and cutting back on alcohol, tobacco and acidic foods, you can keep your teeth whiter for longer.
Many people also turn to professional cosmetic dental technologies like teeth whitening in order to reverse the yellowing process. Over the last five years, the number of teeth whitening procedures has shot up by an amazing 300%, with $1.4 billion being spent on teeth whitening products every year. Dental veneers are also an option to make teeth appear whiter — not surprisingly, the use of veneers has risen by more than 250% over the last five years as well.
Having discolored teeth can be a huge blow to anyone’s confidence. With today’s dental technologies, however, there’s no reason why you can’t feel as confident with your smile as you should.
Have any other questions or comments about anything from cosmetic dentistry to dental cleanings at a regular dentist office? Get the conversation going by leaving a comment below.