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Closeup photo of lower half of woman's face, smiling with yellow teeth and holding tea.Closeup photo of lower half of woman's face, smiling with yellow teeth and holding tea.

Does Ageing Cause Yellow Teeth?

By: BeSeen Team

Date: May 20, 2023

Your skin and body are not the only things that transform as you age. Your mouth also goes through age-related changes, which can impact your oral health. These include yellow teeth, shifting alignments, tooth loss, receding gums, and dry mouth. Good dental hygiene habits and regular dental visits are necessary to keep these effects at bay.  

What Causes Yellow Teeth?

Half a woman’s face smiling with yellow teeth. 
Discoloured teeth can be due to ageing, lifestyle habits, and a diet that includes teeth-staining food and drink.

Teeth undergo various changes as you get older that can affect their appearance and health. Yellowing teeth can be a result of the following:   

  • Thinning enamel. Enamel is the hard, protective outer layer of your teeth. It slowly wears down with age and reveals the yellowish dentin layer underneath.  
  • Poor oral hygiene can cause plaque build-up, leading to discolouration.  
  • Consumption of teeth-staining drinks such as coffee, tea, or wine can also discolour teeth over time.  
  • Smoking contributes to the yellow stains on teeth as well.   
  • Certain health conditions or medications like antibiotics or antihistamines can also cause teeth discolouration.  

Age-Related Dental Changes  

Photo of smiling man holding a clear teeth aligner against a pale pink background
Teeth can also shift and move over time as you get older and may require orthodontic treatment.

While yellow teeth may not necessarily affect oral health, other age-associated dental changes do. These include:   

  1. Dry mouth. This common problem with older adults is due to reduced saliva production caused by ageing, certain medicines, or health conditions. Saliva helps protect your teeth from decay and helps keep your gums healthy.  
  2. Tooth decay. It can be caused by plaque build-up on your teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that can harm teeth enamel and cause cavities.  
  3. Receding gums. A natural process of ageing, receding gums can expose the roots of teeth, making you more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis.  
  4. Tooth loss. Poor oral habits can lead to cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and even injuries that eventually result in tooth loss.   
  5. Shifting teeth alignment. Teeth can move over time due to changes in bone density and loss of support from surrounding tissues, which are part of the natural ageing process. Tooth loss or extractions create gaps in the teeth, which can also cause your surrounding teeth to shift.   

Tips for Maintaining Dental Health with Age

Photo of couple in bathroom, brushing their teeth happily
Good oral hygiene habits and regular dental checkups can help prevent or minimise cavities, yellow teeth, and receding gums.

Help prevent yellowing teeth and other ageing-related teeth changes with the following tips:  

  1. Brush your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes each time, using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.  
  2. Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between teeth and along the gum line.  
  3. Rinse with mouthwash to help kill bacteria and freshen your breath.  
  4. Reduce teeth-staining food and drinks that can cause teeth discolouration over time.   
  5. Quit smoking, which causes yellowing teeth and other oral health problems.   
  6. Wear a mouthguard if you grind or clench your teeth to help protect your teeth from damage and prevent shifting.  

You can prevent or minimise most of these dental changes with good oral hygiene practices. However, some cases may need orthodontic treatment or other dental procedures. If you’ve noticed that your teeth are yellow, consult your dentist for options on how to get rid of yellow teeth. Correcting yellow teeth can include whitening treatments, dental veneers, and dental bonding.   

Can yellow teeth become white again? Yes, all hope is not lost! Yellow teeth treatments include whitening, dental veneers, and dental bonding. Meanwhile, to help maintain your teeth alignment, you can ask your dentist about braces or clear aligners like ClearCorrect, which offer precision, comfort, and aesthetics for the best results in every aspect.  

The Importance of Dental Health  

Developing good oral hygiene habits helps prevent common dental problems, which can lead to pain, tooth loss, and other health issues. A study in the Journal of Ageing Research reveals that individuals with missing teeth (even those with dentures) had a 30% higher risk of death than those with at least 20 teeth or more. So, maintaining natural, healthy, and functional teeth is necessary to help increase longevity.   

Your dental health also has a significant impact on your self-esteem. A healthy, attractive smile can boost your confidence and improve your overall quality of life. A 2017 paper showed that preserving healthy natural teeth as you age benefits your mental, social, and emotional wellbeing.   

By following these tips and practising good dental hygiene habits, you can help prevent yellow teeth and other ageing-related teeth changes. If you find this information useful, share it with your friends and family who may be seeking to boost their overall health.  

 

References: 

Paganini-Hill, A., White, S. C., & Atchison, K. A. (2011). Dental Health Behaviors, Dentition, and Mortality in the Elderly: The Leisure World Cohort Study. Journal of Aging Research, 2011, 1–10. 

Müller, F., Shimazaki, Y., Kahabuka, F. K., & Schimmel, M. (2017). Oral health for an ageing population: the importance of a natural dentition in older adults. International Dental Journal, 67, 7–13. 

Haralur, S. B. (2015, August 1). Effect of Age on Tooth Shade, Skin Color and Skin-Tooth Color Interrelationship in Saudi Arabian Subpopulation. PubMed Central (PMC). 

Aging changes in teeth and gums: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). 

Taking Care of Your Teeth and Mouth. (n.d.). National Institute on Aging. 

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