There are a lot of factors that can cause teeth to become discolored, such as smoking or a poor diet. Our teeth naturally yellow as we age, too. Teeth whitening products are a billion dollar industry. However, many of these products use chemicals to whiten the teeth with bleach. More people are turning to home remedies to remove discoloration from their teeth. Baking soda is a popular choice, as it’s naturally abrasive properties help remove plaque build-up. The alkaline powder found in baking soda can help remove yellow stains and brighten your teeth.
A lot of store-bought toothpaste now tout baking soda as a main ingredient, but you can make your own baking soda mixtures at home to use in addition to the toothpaste. Baking soda is great for the teeth, but only in moderation to prevent dental erosion. It’s important to note that baking soda only helps the surface of the teeth. Make an appointment with your dentist to address more serious dental issues.
What causes yellow teeth?
It’s well-known that smoking and red wine can cause unsightly teeth stains. But there are multiple factors that cause teeth to lose their bright, white appearance. Most of the time, the yellow is caused by the enamel – the outer layer of the teeth – to become stained. In some cases, the enamel has eroded away completely and the dentin is visible. The dentin is the yellow, bony tissue found beneath the enamel.
Whitening your teeth might be a quick fix, but yellow teeth will be a recurring problem if you don’t change the habits that made them turn yellow in the first place.
Factors that can cause discoloration of the enamel are:
Smoking: The nicotine and tar in cigarettes are one of the most common causes of yellow teeth. While nicotine itself is colorless, it turns yellow when it is mixed with oxygen. For that reason, even electronic cigarettes or vape pens that contain nicotine can stain your teeth yellow. Quitting smoking has many health benefits, including improving yellow teeth stains.
Poor Diet: Coffee, soda and wine are notorious for causing discolored teeth and other dental problems. The dye used in sodas can get into the enamel and turn the teeth yellow or brown. The phosphoric acid contained in soda cause erosion of the enamel, which can expose the yellow destin below.
Illness: Yellow teeth is not always caused by a person’s life choices. Some people have medical conditions that require medication that causes yellow teeth, such as high blood pressure and asthma. Cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy are susceptible to yellow teeth, as well.
Poor Oral Hygiene: Infrequent brushing and flossing allow the plague to build-up on the enamel, which in turn causes the teeth to turn yellow. Flossing and brushing regularly are one of the best ways to keep your teeth white, especially if you add baking soda to the mix.
Fluoride: While it is true that fluoride strengthens the enamel, too much of it is a bad thing. Exposure to too much fluoride can cause yellow or brown stains on the teeth. This is especially true for children. The best way to prevent this to limit the fluoride to just one of your tooth-cleaning products; either fluoride toothpaste or fluoride mouthwash, but not both in the same day.
Age: As we age, the enamel that protects our teeth begins to thin and lose its color. This makes your teeth appear yellow. Grinding your teeth can also cause them to age prematurely.
Whiter teeth can be achieved with all different kinds of whitening products or a simple at-home baking soda remedy. However, the cause of the yellow teeth can affect how successful the whitening will be.
How to prevent yellow teeth?
The best way to prevent yellow teeth is to stop the poor habits that cause teeth to lose their brightness. In some cases, the yellowing is caused by premature aging in the teeth.
There are many factors that prematurely ages teeth, including:
Grinding or Clenching: Grinding your teeth can be an unconscious nervous habit or a problem that happens when you’re asleep. Constant teeth grinding can speed up the aging process by causing the living tissue in the tooth to shrink and eventually die. Preventing intentionally or unintentionally grinding your teeth is one way to prevent yellow teeth.
Trauma: Trauma to your teeth can happen from injuring your teeth during a fall or fight as well as eating crunchy foods. Injured teeth die faster than healthy teeth, often leaving the hurt tooth discolored.
Poor Diet: Poor diet not only ages your skin and body, but it also ages your teeth, too. When the enamel is eroded, the tooth’s dentin is exposed. Being malnourished or ill can also prematurely age the teeth. Dry mouth also causes the enamel to erode, so it is important to stay hydrated with water.
Wearing mouthguards can help prevent the grinding and tooth trauma that lead to prematurely aged teeth. You can give up soda and drink more water to prevent dry mouth. This will help your overall health, so it’s a win-win option. And, of course, having good dental hygiene is the best way to prevent dental problems, including yellow teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day are the best prevention.
Can yellow teeth become white?
As hopeless as it sounds, yellow teeth don’t have to be permanent. There are a number of treatment options that will restore your sparkling white smile. There are whitening strips, toothpaste and rinses you can purchase for at-home use. Your dentist has whitening treatments available at their offices. Two of the most popular teeth whitening treatments are professionally done or at home. Here is a brief overview of each option:
Professional Treatment: Most dentists offer professional teeth whitening treatments in their offices. The most basic service involves directly applying a bleach to your teeth. Depending on the severity of the yellowness, lights or lasers might be used to enhance the bleach. You may need more than one treatment to get your teeth the desired shade of white.
At-home Whitening: Over-the-counter (OTC) whitening strips, gels and other products are readily available in any beauty section. Unlike professional treatments that use bleach, OTC products use a peroxide-based whitening agent. At-home treatments are much more affordable than in-office treatments, but they often use chemicals that some people might find harmful.
Baking soda is a more natural ingredient that can be used at home to whiten your teeth. However, baking soda isn’t a replacement for regularly brushing your teeth with toothpaste. Using baking soda too often can be as harmful to your teeth as not brushing at all.
Using Baking Soda to whiten your teeth
It’s no coincidence that more and more toothpaste companies are selling baking soda-infused toothpaste. Baking soda is an alkaline that balances the body’s pH balance when mixed with water. Using it in your mouth prevents bacteria from growing on your teeth. Many tooth decay problems are caused by bacteria. Baking soda is also an abrasive that can help scrub stains and plaque build-up from the teeth.
When using baking soda in your tooth care, you can purchase OTC toothpaste with baking soda, or you can go right to the source and use the DIY baking soda ideas:
DIY Baking Soda Toothpaste
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons water
To use this remedy, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water and brush your teeth with the paste. You can do this a few times per week.
Mix the baking soda and water together into a paste. Brush your teeth with the paste every other day. Use your normal toothpaste daily. The abrasive qualities of the baking soda can damage the enamel if used too often. Avoid adding fruit to the paste for flavor; the acid in fruits can further erode the enamel.
Baking Soda and Fluoride Toothpaste
If you use a fluoride toothpaste, you can sprinkle a pinch of baking soda onto your toothbrush every other day before brushing. Like the baking soda paste, baking soda should be added to your toothpaste every day. If you have eroded or sensitive teeth, you should consult with your dentist before using any tooth whitening products.
Baking Soda and Water Mouth Rinse
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup water
Mix the water and baking soda until the baking soda is dissolved. Gargle a sip of the mixture for 30 seconds. Continue to gargle 1 sip of water until the glass is empty.
Unlike the pastes, the baking soda and water rinse can be used daily without harming your teeth. The mixture doesn’t directly whiten teeth, but it helps fight against the bacteria that causes tooth decay and yellow teeth.
Baking soda isn’t an immediate cure for whiter teeth. It doesn’t kill all of the bacteria can can increase erosion. It is meant to gradually reduce the yellow appearance of your teeth. It should be used sparingly and in accordance with your regular mouth care routine (brushing, flossing, fluoride, etc) and dental visits. Preventing yellow teeth in the first place is a lot easier than restoring the bright, white teeth later on.