Oral Health and Genetic Risk Factors

Common Myths about Yellow Teeth

It's natural for anyone who has yellow teeth to be conscious of their smile. Did you know that off-white teeth aren't necessarily a sign of poor oral health? Many factors cause tooth colour and yellow stains; some can be controlled, while others occur naturally.

Many of the ideas individuals have regarding yellow and white teeth aren't factually accurate. This post will shed some light on some of the misconceptions people believe -- and the facts behind them.

Myth 1: Naturally, all teeth are bright white

Some lucky people are blessed to have pearly white teeth, but for most people, teeth tend to be somewhat darker. Truly bright white teeth may look unnatural, since natural teeth are tinged with grey or yellow.

The outside layer of enamel is a blueish-white colour; however, the enamel is translucent, and this allows the dentin layer below to show through. Note that dentin is a dark yellow colour – this is what gives your teeth that off-white appearance. Therefore, it's okay to conclude that the thickness and shade of the teeth enamel determine the colour of teeth.

Myth 2: Yellow teeth are unhealthy

This myth is usually pushed on people by companies that want potential customers to spend their hard-earned money to get that 'perfect' smile. Today most people believe that discoloured teeth are a symbol of poor oral hygiene or bad breath, but none of these are true.

While heavy staining and plaque deposits aren't healthy, it's possible for healthy and clean teeth to have a yellow shade. A tooth whitening procedure can work by penetrating or stripping the outer enamel layer that weakens teeth when repeated several times.

Myth 3: You can get off-white teeth with braces

If you wear braces, oral hygiene must be maintained to keep the teeth clean. Sometimes people end up getting yellow teeth after wearing braces for a long time, but the braces aren't to blame. It's easy for bacteria to build up around braces, so it's crucial to be very careful when cleaning teeth. If you maintain a great oral hygiene routine and floss regularly, wearing braces shouldn't necessarily lead to discoloured teeth.

If you think your braces are making your teeth turn yellow, consider asking your dentist to get you another brace design. For instance, lingual braces are usually placed behind the teeth -- if any marks are left behind, they'll be hidden. Another alternative would be to buy removable, invincible braces so you can clean your teeth normally.