A Healthy Set of Lemony Yellows: Are Yellow Teeth Unhealthy?

Dentist Blog

What's the one facial feature that all Hollywood movie stars have in common? They all have a gleaming set of pearly whites, mostly. Although most people consider white teeth to be more attractive than yellow teeth, are white teeth also healthier than yellow teeth? 

This might come as a shock, but teeth can be yellow for several reasons, not just poor health or poor oral hygiene. Therefore, if somebody's teeth are yellow, don't assume it is because they don't brush their teeth. It may well be down to something out of their control. 

Skin Tone Affects Tooth Colour

You have probably heard people with darker skin have whiter teeth. This inverse relationship isn't just hearsay. It's a fact. A study of 240 individuals of varying skin tones discovered that people with fair skin have darker teeth, and those with medium to dark skin have lighter teeth. 

Therefore, skin tone can dictate how yellow or dark a person's teeth appear. 

Older People Have Yellower Teeth

As people age, their teeth become yellower. This yellowing happens for several reasons. First, young teeth have more enamel since they have yet to experience significant wear and tear. The more enamel a tooth has, the whiter it is. Older teeth have seen decades of use and as a result, have less enamel. The underlying layer of dentin, which is yellow, is then more visible. 

Habits and dietary choices also cause older teeth to become yellow. For instance, if someone has drank coffee every day for ten years, you can expect their teeth to have picked up staining. Smoking also causes staining that won't go away even after a person quits.

Yellow Teeth Are Hereditary 

People can also inherit yellow teeth from their parents. This could be because thin enamel is something that runs in their family. Since dentin is yellowish, it can cause teeth that have a thin layer of enamel to appear yellow. Similarly, it is also possible to inherit teeth that have more dentin. Naturally, this leads to yellow teeth. 

Cosmetic Dentistry Can Help

Teeth whitening, whether in-office or at home, is an effective means of achieving a whiter smile. However, it may not work for everyone, especially those with thin enamel or more dentin. In that case, composite bonding or porcelain veneers are two alternatives that can give longer lasting results. 

Although yellow teeth might look unhealthy to some, they don't always mean poor oral hygiene or health. 


10 July 2018

Teeth And Tears: Dental Dramas Of A School Nurse

I have worked as a school nurse for decades. Children come to me with all sorts of scrapes and bumps and bruises. Black eyes from playing football, sprained wrists from falling off the monkey bars and stomachaches from too many sweets are common complaints. However, the issue that seems to cause the greatest angst is tooth problems. Sometimes a child will have a second tooth knocked out when playing sport and parents arrive in tears. At other times, children come to my office crying because their friends are teasing them about teeth that are discoloured or stick out. I take an active interest in the latest dental news so that I can give parents and children comfort and advice. I have included some of my collected wisdom on these pages. Perhaps this information can help you understand some options when faced with a dental problem. Thank you for reading.