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    November 13, 2011

    Why are my teeth yellow?


    How to Whiten Teeth?


    There are three reasons why your teeth would look stained or are a yellow colour:

    1. The external stains on surface of your teeth.
    2. The thickness of the enamel on your teeth.
    3. The internal colour of your teeth.

    1. External stains on the surface of the teeth.

    External stains build-up on the teeth from the foods and beverages that we eat and drink. Some good examples of foods that stain the teeth are coffee, tea, red wine, and spicy foods. Smoking, in any form, will create a film of stain over the teeth. Some people build-up stains on their teeth even due to substances in their saliva produced by their body.

    The good news about these stains is that they are easily removed at your regular cleaning appointment with your dentist or hygienist. We do not recommend the use of smokers' toothpastes as they are very abrasive, and when used regularly they will lead to a loss of enamel.

    2. The thickness of the enamel on your teeth.

    Enamel is the very hard outer layer of the tooth which has a white, glassy appearance. The more enamel you have, the whiter your teeth will look. You cannot increase the thickness of your enamel, but you can preserve it by avoiding acid-producing drinks, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, and sugary drinks, and other abrasive or erosive factors, such as over exuberant scrubbing on particular areas of the teeth.

    Erosive drinks should be kept to a minimum, and especially not drunk in-between meals. People that suffer from gastric reflux, or voluntary/involuntary vomiting will also find that enamel will be dissolved from the surface of their teeth.

    Porcelain veneers can replace this lost enamel and change and improve the shape of your teeth. This technique performed by your dentist can recreate a beautiful smile which has the same glassy white appearance as natural teeth.


    3.The internal colour of the teeth.

    The substance under the enamel is called dentine and it can range in colour fron pale yellow to dark grey/brown. This colour shines through the enamel and determines the colour that people see when you smile. It is this colour that we change when we bleach teeth. The bleach penetrates the outer layer of enamel, without changing or damaging it, and chemically lightens the dentine. When the bleach is in contact with the teeth for the right amount of time using correctly constructed bleaching trays, and the bleach is the correct concentration, then bleaching is very effective and safe.

    Unfortunately, toothpastes do not contain the active ingredient of bleach in great enough concentrations, and most of the paste is swallowed or washed away from the tooth surface, thus making the bleaching ineffective. Paints in over the counter whitening agents to date have had little effect for the same reason.

    The good news about bleaching is that it is a long-term change. Bleaching can be done in the dental surgery for those that find overnight bleaching with trays inconvenient, but we have found that it is more expensive for the patient and most will end up using the home bleaching as well. We currently provide refill syringes for home bleaching; please see our Nite White Refills.

    The side effects of bleaching are limited, though most people will experience an increase in sensitivity while bleaching. 

    For more information, please see our instructions on home bleaching or come and ask us at MDT Dental Surgery, via phone on 9908 3466 or via email to advice@dentalcareproducts.com.au

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