Why do teeth turn yellow?

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WHILE celebrities and models may sport pearly white teeth, the smiles of most people are a tad duller. But this shouldn’t be too surprising. Many things can affect the color of your teeth and turn them that dreaded yellow hue, which may make some people feel self-conscious about their appearance and hesitant to smile.
An abnormal tooth color is considered any color other than white or yellowish white, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Most causes of tooth discoloration fall into two main categories: extrinsic and intrinsic stains. Yellowing can also be caused by a wide array of health factors, from medication use to inadequate brushing.
Extrinsic stains affect the surface of the enamel, which is the hard, outermost layer of teeth. Although tooth enamel can be easily stained, these stains can typically be removed or corrected.
“The No. 1 cause of teeth yellowing is lifestyle,” said Dr. Justin Philipp of J. Philipp Dentistry in Chandler, Arizona. “Smoking, drinking coffees and teas, and chewing tobacco are the worst offenders.” The tar and nicotine in tobacco are chemicals that can cause yellowish stains on the surface of teeth, in people who smoke or chew.
As a rule of thumb, any food or drink that can stain clothes can also stain your teeth. So, that’s why dark-colored foods and beverages, including red wine, colas, chocolate and dark sauces — such as soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, spaghetti sauce and curries — can discolor teeth. In addition, some fruits and vegetables — such as grapes, blueberries, cherries, beets and pomegranates — have the potential to stain teeth. These items are high in chromogens, pigment-producing substances that can stick to tooth enamel. Popsicles and candies are other foods likely to stain teeth.
Acidic foods and beverages can promote staining by eroding tooth enamel and making it easier for pigments to latch onto the teeth. Tannin, a bitter compound found in wine and tea, also helps chromogens attach to tooth enamel, which ultimately causes staining. But there’s good news for tea drinkers: A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that adding milk to tea reduces its chances of staining teeth because the proteins in milk can bind to tannin. Liquid forms of iron supplements can stain teeth, but there are several ways to prevent or remove these stains, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Not caring for teeth enough, such as inadequate brushing and flossing, and not going for regular dental cleanings can prevent the removal of stain-producing substances and lead to a buildup of plaque on teeth, resulting in discoloration.

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