What Causes Yellow Teeth as You Get Older?
Your tooth enamel is naturally white and shiny, however as the enamel becomes thinner, to becomes more transparent and the inner layers of your teeth begin to show through. In this case it’s the dentin that is showing through and your dentin is naturally more yellow in colour that the enamel that covers it.
Sadly as we age the enamel layer of our teeth naturally becomes thinner. This is the main reason why as we get older our teeth begin to look increasingly yellow.
What Foods & Drinks Cause Yellow Teeth?
There is a long list of different types of problem foods and drinks that will cause teeth yellowing. Here we list the worst offenders.
1. Black Tea
You can think about how spilling black tea on your white shirt or tablecloth can easily cause a stain that’s difficult to wash out, as doing the same thing to your teeth.
The tannins in black tea are notorious for causing discolouration, especially teeth yellowing. What many people don’t realise, is that you can create an even bigger problem if you combine your tasty cup of tea with any of the other problem foods and drinks too. The tannins almost enhance the staining process by making it easy for other compounds to stick to the surface of the tooth enamel.
2. Soft Drinks, Sodas & Sports Drinks
Soft drinks and sodas not only contain a lot of acidic sugar, they often have citric and phosphoric acids that wear through tooth enamel.
The urban legend about Coke Cola being able to dissolve a tooth left over night has now been scientifically proven to be false. What instead was found is that tooth staining after just one night was visibly noticeable and after a week the tooth was completely black. That means you don’t get small sensitive teeth, but you will definitely discolour your teeth.
Sports drinks are the newest problem fluid that we are consuming in big volumes and unfortunately some of them have even higher levels of the acids that damage your tooth enamel than soft drinks.
3. Boiled Lollies & Lollipops
Hard lollies like boiled lollies and lollipops are a serious problem when it comes to discolouring and damaging your tooth enamel, not just because of their high sugar content, but because of the long amount of time they are in your mouth.
The longer these sugary treats are in your mouth the more damage they can do to your teeth. A great way to understand just how much staining power these sweets have is to check out the colour of your tongue when you have them. When your tongue is stained you can be sure that your teeth are getting a good dose of discolouration too.
Just like black tea, wine is full of tannins. To be clear both white wine and red wine contain teeth staining tannins, so thinking your out of danger if you stick to white wine is actually untrue.
You can think of wine as being like a primer for your teeth; so whatever else you consume while or after drinking wine is more likely to stain your teeth than if you didn’t drink the wine.
5. Curry, Sauces & Condiments
Highly pigmented seasonings such as curries, mustard, saffron, soy sauce, chilli and tomato sauce are able to coat your tooth’s enamel and when left for too long start the staining process. The acidic nature of these items adds to the problem by thinning your enamel, so your teeth are under attack from two sides.
Interestingly, there is some emerging evidence that by eating salad greens or steamed vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower before you have sauces or condiments you coat your teeth with a protective layer that reduces staining.
6. Vegetables, Fruits & Fruit Juices
Brightly coloured vegetables and fruits like beetroot, pomegranate, cherries, red grapes, currants, cranberry and most berries will stain and discolour your teeth.
Amazingly, the fruit and vegetable world contains foods that have the opposite affect. For example, cucumbers, cauliflower, apples, pears and guavas all increase saliva production to naturally flush away stains; and pineapple is a natural stain remover.
While nowhere near as bad as soft drinks, sports drinks and sodas, commercially made fruit juices are little bottles of teeth yellowing fluid. The more brightly coloured they are the more staining potential they have.
What Can I Do Naturally To Prevent Yellow Teeth?
Some of the foods and drinks in the list of things that cause discolouration are actually healthy for you, so you’ll still want to have them.
Believe it or not, the best way to reduce your risk of yellowing teeth caused by staining is to simply rinse your mouth with ordinary tap water after you’ve consumed any of these problem foods and drinks.
Taking a big sip of water and swirling it around your mouth will wash away the staining compounds and acids that cause the damage as well as promote saliva production, which is your body’s natural defence against enamel wearing.