Dentist reveals simple mistake turning your teeth yellow – and how to fix it

By Staff 7 Min Read

Foregoing what should be a twice-daily ritual can cause all manner of problems for our teeth, with discolouration a leading cause for concern. Here, a top dentist discusses the one mistake Brits make that can lead to yellowing gnashers – and how best to avoid it

Failing to brush our teeth properly can lead to not only discolouration but also a wealth of other dental problems.

Foregoing what should be a twice-daily ritual can cause the build-up of plaque which can harden into bacteria-laden tartar. Over time, surplus acids can erode tooth enamel, exposing the yellowish dentin beneath. Additionally, without regular brushing, stains from food, beverages, and tobacco can adhere to your once pearly-whites, further contributing to discolouration and a yellowish appearance.

Here, dentist Dr Ferakh Hamid – from Aesthetique Dental Care – discusses the one mistake Brits make that can lead to tooth discolouration and how to avoid this.

Wetting the toothbrush before brushing

“Before you start brushing, it’s a good idea to wet your toothbrush. This little step makes it easier to spread the toothpaste all over your teeth, making cleaning more effective.

“Also, when you wet the bristles, they soften up. This means when you brush, it’s gentler on your gums and teeth, helping to avoid any irritation or damage. So, remember, a quick splash of water on your brush can make a big difference in keeping your mouth clean.”

The effects of dry brushing

“Brushing your teeth in certain ways, like without water or right after eating acidic foods, might actually make them look less white over time. Dry brushing might seem good for getting rid of surface stains at first, but without water, toothpaste doesn’t spread well, leading to dull teeth.

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“Also, brushing too soon after eating acidic foods can wear down your tooth enamel. This reveals the yellower layer beneath and makes your teeth look more yellow. This shows why brushing the right way and at the right time is key to keeping your teeth’s natural colour and shine. The acid softens the enamel, which might lead to sensitive teeth or make them change colour. To avoid this, it’s better to wait a while after eating acidic foods before you brush, ensuring your enamel stays strong and your teeth stay healthy.”

General oral hygiene recommendations

“For fresh breath and a healthy mouth, it’s important to have a good cleaning routine. This means brushing your teeth and gums softly for two minutes twice a day, using products like antimicrobial mouthwash or toothpaste to fight off germs, visiting your dentist regularly, cleaning your tongue every day, and taking care of any dentures you might have. Keeping up with these steps will help prevent dental problems and keep your mouth feeling great.”

How best to clean your teeth

The NHS recommends you should brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for about two minutes to help keep your teeth and mouth healthy.

Plaque is a film of bacteria that coats your teeth if you don’t brush them properly; and it contributes to gum disease and tooth decay.

‘Tooth brushing stops plaque building up. Try to make sure you clean every surface of all your teeth’ the health body says. It’s also advised not to rinse with water straight after brushing.

“After brushing, spit out any excess toothpaste. Don’t rinse your mouth immediately after brushing, as it’ll wash away the concentrated fluoride in the remaining toothpaste. Rinsing dilutes it and reduces its preventative effects,” they advise. Regular flossing may also reduce gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line. As far as using mouthwash goes, the NHS advises to use one that contains fluoride.

“But don’t use mouthwash (even a fluoride one) straight after brushing your teeth or it’ll wash away the concentrated fluoride in the toothpaste left on your teeth,” they warn.

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