Most teeth naturally yellow as we age because the outer layer of enamel wears away, revealing the yellowish dentin layer underneath. If your teeth aren’t too sensitive and you’re looking for a brighter smile, consider using over-the-counter whitening products – just be sure to follow the instructions on the package.
Some people have brighter or thicker enamel due to DNA. Thicker enamel will take longer to wear down, which can make teeth appear whiter longer.
Tetracycline antibiotics, commonly used to treat bacterial infections, can cause permanent tooth stains, especially in young children. Pregnant women who take tetracycline also risk staining their developing baby’s permanent teeth. Additionally, some antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs and high blood pressure medications can cause enamel to yellow. Treatment may include switching to a different brand of medication – discuss a prescription change with your dentist and physician.
Certain foods and drinks
Coffee, tea and red wine contain an ingredient called tannin, which causes color compounds to stick to enamel, leaving unwanted stains. Rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth right after drinking these beverages to help prevent stains.
The nicotine and tar found in cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco can make teeth yellow very quickly. Longtime users often find themselves with brown stains that are hard to remove. To prevent stains and other health problems, avoid tobacco use.