Google translation of article in Spanish
Los Tiempos: Having white teeth has become a need not only aesthetic but also psychological.
But not all people have white teeth naturally.
And not always the yellowish tone they can acquire is due to tobacco or coffee.
We consult a specialist to know the causes and possible solutions.
“The color of teeth depends on each person,” Dr. Oscar Castro Reino, president of the General Council of Dentists’ Colleges in Spain, tells BBC Mundo.
“There is an important genetic condition that defines the coloration of our teeth since we are born,” adds the expert.
According to Dr. Castro, there are also some congenital diseases “such as dentinogenesis or amelogenesis imperfecta that cause defects in the enamel or dentin, causing them to become yellow or even brown.”
“It is a process that is inherited from parents to children,” explains the doctor.
In addition, “the endocrine alterations of thyroid hormones also influence the color of the teeth and can cause stains and alter their color”.
What you eat and drink
Some foods and beverages have pigments that can seep into the pores of our teeth or, as dentists call them, in the “dental canaliculi” of the dentin (intermediate tissue of the tooth). Some, like coffee or black tea, are better known, and others not so much. For example, according to Dr. Castro, green tea also contains pigmentation that can yellow your teeth, as well as other beverages such as red wine or cola.
In some places the water can also yellow teeth, because it contains “tremendous amounts of fluorine, which cause an excess of this substance known as fluorosis, which causes stains on the teeth,” Castro explains.
According to the Latin American Dental Federation (FOLA), “fluoride is one of the most pressing problems in Latin America as a trigger for pathological processes that alter the oral health status of patients.” (our emphasis)
Medications and treatments
“Some types of antibiotics, such as tetracycline, can cause an alteration during the formation of the tooth, causing it to be born with a striated brown color,” explains Castro.
Other products that make the teeth turn yellow are, according to the specialist, mouthwashes (mouth rinses).
In the case of silver amalgam (used for metal fillings), it contains pigments that, as Castro warns, are eventually assimilated by the tooth and transforming its color.
With the endodoncia the same thing happens: when the nerve of the tooth is killed, it becomes dark.
And is that when there is a trauma the blood coagulates, staining the tooth from the inside out.
In any case, there are new solutions, such as the use of composites or composite resins, says Castro.
The passage of time (and care)
Another not less important factor is the passage of time.
As we age, the teeth turn yellow.
“It is normal that with age the teeth yellow, because from birth until we die we subject them to a series of conditions that cause changes in them,” says Dr. Castro.
But it is also fundamental how we take care of our teeth. And, above all, how we clean it. “Dental hygiene influences a lot,” explains the doctor.
HOW TO AVOID IT?
We can not slow down the time, but we can be careful in cleaning our teeth, as well as avoiding overeating certain foods or drinks (and, of course, smoking).
But if you are looking for solutions a posteriori, it is best to go to the professionals.
“Many home-based bleaching treatments have no therapeutic capacity, like some that are advertised on television and promise a whitening of up to eight shades, which is impossible,” says Castro.
“It’s misleading advertising,” says the specialist.
“The ideal is to go to the dentist and see what can be done to whiten them and, above all, to rule out any previous pathology,” he adds.
As for home remedies, such as baking soda with lemon, Castro warns to be careful: “It is an acid that erodes and whose effect would be the same as rubbing the tooth with sandpaper.”
And whitening toothpastes?
According to Castro, “they play with the trick of colors (the opposite of yellow is violet), the violet particles that permeate the tooth cause the feeling of false bleaching.”
The specialist also warns of a new phenomenon: blancorexia or obsession with white teeth.
“You always want more and patients ask for shades of white that do not exist in nature, like sanitary target,” says Castro.
“There is a change in the perception of what is natural and what is artificial.”