Smoking does not only affect your lungs but also your oral health. It does more than just make your breath smell bad. It can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. One of the smoking’s effects on teeth is teeth stains. Smoking makes your teeth yellow. It can turn them brown or black. In this article, we will discuss how smoking makes your teeth yellow and what are the treatment options.
What are Teeth Stains?
You should first know what teeth stains are and their types to understand how smoking makes your teeth yellow. Teeth stains, also known as tooth discoloration, refers to teeth that have acquired a yellowish or brownish color. Teeth stains can be intrinsic or extrinsic.
- Intrinsic stains: they affect the inner layer of the teeth. Intrinsic stains may occur due to the death of tooth pulp, overexposure to fluoride, or natural discoloration of the dentin as the tooth ages.
- Extrinsic stains: they affect the outer layer of the teeth (the enamel). Extrinsic stains may occur due to external factors that come in contact with teeth, such as smoking or drinking tea or coffee.
How Does Smoking Make Your Teeth Yellow?
- Tar: it leaves a sticky brown residue on teeth and fingers.
- Nicotine: it is a colorless substance. However, When nicotine reacts with oxygen, it oxidizes and turns brown.
These substances stick to your tooth enamel and discolor it. Over time, smoking makes your teeth yellow. The more you smoke, the darker your teeth stains become and the longer they last. Also, smoking increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
How Long Does It Take for My Teeth To Turn Yellow?
The time it takes depends on how often you smoke and how heavy you smoke. If you smoke occasionally now and then, it will take a long time for your teeth to get yellow. The stains caused by smoking are usually not that strong in light smokers. It can easily fade after several days if you stop smoking. However, with heavy smokers, the process is much faster and more severe.
Other Causes of Yellow Teeth, Besides Smoking
In addition to smoking, other factors may contribute to yellow teeth.
- Poor oral hygiene: Not brushing and flossing regularly can lead to tooth decay, which causes teeth discoloration. Poor oral hygiene with braces can cause post-braces stains.
- Drinking tea or coffee: If you drink a lot of tea or coffee, it can stain your teeth over time.
- Medications: some medications, such as tetracycline and birth control pills can stain teeth permanently.
- Aging: the older you are, the more yellowish your teeth become.
- Genetics: The color of your teeth is partially genetic. Some people are born with a thicker or brighter enamel and may not experience the same tooth yellowing effects as others.
Whitening Options for Yellow Teeth Due to Smoking
There are several ways to whiten the teeth that have become yellow due to smoking.
- Maintain good oral hygiene: brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss them every day.
- Stop smoking: this is one of the best options because it does not only whiten your teeth but also improves your overall oral health and stops the stains from building up. Learn more about the tobacco effects on smokers’ teeth and gums.
- Whitening toothpaste: it doesn’t only remove surface stains from your teeth but also polishes and brightens the enamel. Whitening toothpaste is less effective for deep stains caused by smoking.
- Professional teeth cleaning: your dentist can help you remove the stains efficiently. You should visit your dentist regularly to remove tartar that accumulates on your teeth and make your teeth yellow.
- At-Home Bleaching: your dentist or hygienist can help you get brighter teeth at home by using a teeth bleaching system.
- In-Office Bleaching: your dentist will use a stronger bleaching system that can make your teeth up to eight shades whiter. However, it is more expensive.
Other Treatment Options for Teeth Discoloration
Restorative dentistry does not only mean fixing a broken tooth. It can also be used to improve the appearance of your teeth by whitening and reshaping your teeth. If you don’t want to deal with yellow teeth any longer, consider veneers or dental crowns.
- Dental veneers: it is a thin, porcelain shell that is bonded to the front of your teeth. They are used to whiten or change the appearance of teeth that have dark stains and/or enamel damage.
- Dental crowns: it covers the entire surface of your tooth and does not leave any part visible. It can be used to shape your smile, close spaces between teeth, or cover broken and stained teeth. Read more about the benefits of a dental crown on a broken tooth or stained tooth.
Consult your dentist to find out which option is perfect for you.
How Long Does It Take for My Teeth to Go Back to Normal After I Stop Smoking?
The process does not happen overnight. You need to give your teeth time to repair and remove the nicotine stains. The effects of smoking on teeth can be reversed with some basic oral hygiene techniques and professional help from your dentist. Read more about the effects of smoking after oral surgery.
Does Smoking Make Your Teeth Yellow – Conclusion
Smoking can make your teeth yellow because it stains the outer layer of your tooth enamel with tar and nicotine. The more you smoke, the darker your teeth stains become and the longer they last. If you want a whiter smile as quickly as possible, consider using whitening toothpaste or visiting your dentist for professional teeth cleaning and in-office bleaching sessions. If cost is a concern, then you can try whitening toothpaste and at-home teeth whitening systems. Remember: always brush twice daily and floss every day to maintain oral hygiene to prevent future staining from occurring.