"Why Are My Teeth Getting Darker?"

One of the most common dental problems in our society is that of yellowing teeth. Just about everyone wants a bright white smile, but we seem to be racing against the clock in our fight to achieve that. Are your darkening teeth a sign of a losing battle?

Extrinsic Staining: What You Need to Know

Dark-colored food and beverages are very common causes of teeth staining, as you may well know. Bit by bit, pigments in such items accumulate on the surface of enamel. Because this staining comes from sources outside your teeth, it’s called “extrinsic.” Stains like this can usually be polished away during your dental cleaning.

If you want to slow down the teeth staining process, then you should make an effort to cut back on things like:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soda
  • Red wine
  • Tomato sauce
  • Curries

However, food alone is not to blame.

Intrinsic Staining: The Unseen Enemy

Having the occasional glass of wine doesn’t explain why your teeth may gradually be getting more yellow. There is a problem that goes deeper than that. Much deeper, as in below the surface of your enamel.

As we age, the tooth layer below our enamel, the dentin, gets darker in color. On top of this, our enamel layer wears down. It’s that opaque outer layer that helps our teeth look nice and white. Thin it out, and the dark yellow dentin shows through. Not to mention that stains can soak deep into your enamel thanks to microscopic pores, causing intrinsic stains.

If you have a habit of grinding your teeth, then your enamel will wear down faster and expose more of the dentin. Gum recession is responsible for revealing yellow tooth roots.

Add to all of the years of coffee drinking and/or smoking, and your smile will be a long ways from that glittering white hue you love so much.

Reverse Yellowing Teeth

A professional whitening treatment could work wonders. But be prepared for the possibility that whitening won’t be enough to counter age-related yellowing. If that’s the case, you might want to give dental veneers a try.

Schedule a dental cleaning visit at Michael J. Aiello, DDS. After removing plaque, tartar, and surface stain, Dr. Aiello will help you find a whitening technique that works for you.