Do teeth turn yellow as you age?

Tooth discoloration and "Do Teeth Turn Yellow As You Age?" is one of the most common patient concerns/questions that we hear each day. There are a number of reasons why your teeth may begin to turn yellow; the aging process is one of them. As you begin to get older, your tooth enamel will begin to wear away, revealing the dentin within the tooth. This dentin has a yellowish color. Your teeth will also begin to create more dentin as you age, which also causes teeth to have a darker appearance.

What Are Some Other Causes of Tooth Discoloration?

There are many things that can cause your teeth to become yellowed or discolored. Tobacco use is one of the most common, as this can stain teeth very easily. A diet that is heavy on coffee, tea, soda, and dark wine can also cause your teeth to become stained and discolored. These stains are very difficult to remove, even when using a whitening toothpaste and brushing a minimum of twice per day. Some other common causes of tooth discoloration include:

  • Disease - If you've had chemotherapy or certain infections, it can cause your teeth to become discolored.
  • Medication - Certain medications have been known to discolor teeth, including the antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline, antihistamines such as Benadryl, certain antipsychotics, and antihypertensive medications can all cause tooth discoloration.
  • Oral Trauma - If your teeth have been damaged in an accident, it is possible that they may begin to become discolored.

Is Tooth Discoloration Preventable?

Luckily, many forms of tooth discoloration can be prevented with a few lifestyle changes. Avoiding foods and beverages that can stain your teeth, as well as quitting tobacco use are excellent ways to prevent any further discoloration to your teeth. Having regular dental cleanings every six months is also an excellent way from plaque or tartar buildup from damaging teeth and prematurely wearing away the tooth enamel that keeps your teeth looking bright white. However, sometimes even the best preventative measures aren't enough; some discoloration will still naturally occur as you age.

How Is Tooth Discoloration Treated?

There are a number of ways that your dentist can restore your teeth to their natural brilliance, and the method you choose will depend upon your individual needs. Some of the most common tooth whitening treatments are:

  • Whitening agents - you can buy whitening agents over the counter, though these should be used with caution. If your discoloration has been caused by aging or thinning of your tooth enamel, using abrasive or chemical whiteners may actually make the problem worse.
  • In-office Whitening - this is an excellent method for patients whose tooth discoloration is due to lifestyle habits or diet. Unfortunately, this method is also not usually appropriate for age-induced discoloration.
  • Dental Veneers - these custom made porcelain shells fit over the front surface of your teeth, and can not only help correct tooth discoloration but a number of other dental issues as well. This is an excellent solution for those who want a brighter, healthier looking smile in very little time.
  • Dental Bonding - this method is usually preferred when a single tooth is discolored due to oral trauma or other damage.

Regardless of the type of tooth discoloration you're experiencing, we have treatments that can help. Contact our office today and let our friendly, highly-qualified dentists help you choose the whitening solution that will be best for you.

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