For a wide variety of reasons, many of us can end up with various shades of yellow teeth. While a small amount of yellowing is expected as we age, for some people, it can become a real problem. Thankfully there are ways to bring some whiteness back to your teeth.
Here we’re going to look at all the ways you can get rid of yellow teeth, including both home remedies and professional services. We’ll also give you all the info you need about why our teeth are yellow, so let’s get started!
Why Do We Get Yellow Teeth?
There are two ways that our teeth can become yellow. The first is simply through the natural aging process as the enamel on your teeth starts to wear away over time. The second is through the food and drink we consume, which can stain our teeth.
The yellow staining of our teeth over time can’t be stopped. Even with excellent oral hygiene, the enamel on your teeth will gradually wear away. As it does, the calcified yellow dentin underneath the enamel will start to show.
While it may be inevitable, brushing regularly will slow down the aging process of your teeth and help to protect that enamel for as long as possible. While some yellowing is expected, what foods do you need to avoid to prevent further discoloration?
Causes of Yellowing Teeth
The biggest offenders are foods that are highly acidic, such as though which contain tomatoes or vinegar. This applies to drinks that can contain high levels of acid too, which includes many fizzy drinks, fruit juices, and energy drinks.
The spices and chemicals in many dark foods can also penetrate your porous enamel. These include berries, dark sauces, and colored dye on sweets. Drinks that can cause staining due to a chemical called tannins include tea, coffee, and red wine.
Added to all of these factors is smoking. As we mentioned, enamel is porous and the nicotine from cigarette smoke will stick to your teeth. When nicotine oxidizes it will take on a yellow color, which will show on your teeth.
Home Remedies vs Professional Whitening
For those who want to whiten their teeth, you have two options. You can either try whitening them at home or find a dentist to do it for you. While home methods are going to be the cheaper option, using a professional is going to be a much more effective solution.
There isn’t one standard way to whiten teeth. Instead, there are two common methods that both use hydrogen peroxide but in very different ways. One uses the chemical using a gel and the other activates the chemical with a laser. Let’s look at the process in more detail.
There are a few different ways that gel can be used, but the most common way is for your dentist to give you a tray that contains hydrogen peroxide. You then place this in your mouth and it will work to gradually bleach your teeth.
While some practices require you to attend a few appointments, many allow you to take these trays home with you, which you can often wear while you sleep. This is by far the cheaper of the two treatment options but the results take more time to show.
The reason you need to see a dentist (and you can’t just order them from home) is that they use a highly concentrated form of hydrogen peroxide which can burn your gums. The trays need to be specifically shaped to your jaw and teeth shape to ensure the chemical doesn’t touch your flesh.
2. Laser Treatment
Many people see laser treatment as the more attractive solution as it has a couple of huge advantages. The biggest one is that you’ll be able to see results instantly as the lasers work to bleach the teeth straight away, however, you may need a few sessions to get your desired results.
Two to four treatments are required, and you’ll be done in under an hour. With this process, hydrogen peroxide is applied to the teeth and then a laser is applied. This heats up the solution which activates it to work much more rapidly than gel trays.
There are a few disadvantages to laser treatment, with the biggest being the cost. It’s far more expensive than gel trays and while you’ll get instant results, you need to leave time between treatments which means the overall timeframe may be longer.
3. Gel Rays vs Lasers: Which Is Better?
As you can see here, both solutions have their pros and cons. That being said, if it’s in your budget then many people see laser as the quicker, more effective, and more convenient treatment. That being said, if you don’t have the budget, then gel trays are a great alternative.
While those are the two methods for those looking for a professional solution, what are the home remedies that you can try out? We’ll take a closer look in our next section.
Best Homemade Teeth Whitening Methods
There are several things you can try to whiten your teeth at home, with each of them having varying degrees of success.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – This method is simple as you mix a solution of apple cider vinegar and water, and then swish it around your mouth. The acids in the vinegar are meant to work away your plaque and help to remove stains.
- Activated Charcoal – Charcoal is an excellent absorber which is why it’s commonly used in water filters. Brushing your teeth with powdered charcoal is meant to pull the stains away from your teeth and leave them whiter.
- Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda – This makes a lot of sense since hydrogen peroxide is used in professional cleaning services. Mixing it which baking soda allows you to make it into a paste that you can then brush your teeth with. The chemical will bleach your teeth while the baking soda can remove stains.
- Coconut Oil Pulling – This is an ancient method that is meant to improve your oral hygiene. Oil pulling is simply using oil as a mouthwash. If that sounds disgusting, you can make it more pleasant by using coconut oil.
- Food – There is also a line of thinking that certain foods can reduce yellowing due to their abrasive qualities such as strawberries, apples, citrus, cloves, and garlic. High-fiber foods and those with certain enzymes (papayas and pineapples) are also said to help whiten teeth.
Do These Home Remedies Work?
We wouldn’t recommend any of the methods above. The reason is that they are either ineffective, can make things worse, or both! For example, using acidic vinegar can have the opposite effect by wearing away the enamel and exposing the yellow underneath.
The likes of activated charcoal, oil pulling, and eating certain foods have all proved to be ineffective after research. Even if they did help, the results would be barely noticeable and therefore it’s not worth the effort.
The only solution from the above list which has any merit is using hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. So why wouldn’t we recommend it? It’s because hydrogen peroxide can burn your gums.
Experts ensure the solution only ever touches your teeth but this is very difficult to do when brushing with your own mixture. You also won’t be an expert in creating the perfect strength of hydrogen peroxide, which can lead to further issues.
How To Get Rid of Yellow Teeth at Home
So as we’ve seen, we wouldn’t recommend these home remedies, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any options. One of the best things you can do is simply brush your teeth but there are also a few other products that can help.
1. Brushing Your Teeth
It’s a very obvious point but brushing your teeth regularly is the best way to prevent your teeth from yellowing. This will help to remove any plaque while also preventing any acids or sugars from wearing away your teeth.
While normal toothpaste is a great idea, there is now a range of whitening toothpaste that is even better. The most advanced ones will contain hydrogen peroxide. While this chemical can burn your gums, it’s in a very low concentration when in toothpaste.
2. Whitening Products
There is also now a range of whitening products you can freely buy, namely teeth whitening strips and whitening pens. Both of these can do an excellent job, especially for those who don’t have the budget for professional treatment.
However, it’s important to mention that results can vary greatly from one brand, and product, to the next. It’s important to check out user reviews and choose reputable brands to ensure you’re buying a product that’s going to work.
If you want to get rid of yellow teeth, your best bet is to have them whitened by a professional dentist. If that’s not possible, then cheaper options that work include brushing with whitening toothpaste and using whitening strips or pens.
What we wouldn’t recommend is trying out any of those home remedies. Results can be ineffective and they have actually damaged your teeth and gums. Hopefully, now you have all the info you need to start your journey to whiter teeth!