You're not a smoker, and you're careful to brush and floss your teeth every day, especially after eating or drinking things that could stain your teeth. And yet, your teeth are still turning yellow. What's the deal? Take a look at a few things that could be causing the yellow stains on your teeth. Once you pinpoint the cause, you'll have a better chance of getting your teeth back to white and keeping them that way.
Your Swimming Pool
Is it swim season? Have you been taking a lot of dips in the pool to cool off or get exercise? If so, it may be the chlorine in your pool that's causing the stains. It's hard to prevent some pool water from entering your mouth while you're swimming, but too much chlorine can damage your tooth enamel. The enamel is what gives your teeth their white look, so if it begins to wear away, your teeth will start to look discolored. They may also become more sensitive and more prone to decay.
You can prevent chlorine damage by keeping your pool's pH levels above 7—anything below that is harmful to the teeth. The CDC recommends a pH level between 7.2 and 7.8. If you're using public pools, look for signs of erosion on the pool linings, ladders, and railings—if the water is eroding these, it will erode your tooth enamel as well.
Brushing your teeth is supposed to prevent staining, but believe it or not, if your toothbrush bristles are too hard or you are pushing too hard with your toothbrush, you can cause yellowing. This is because hard bristles or a lot of pressure will go beyond cleaning stains off of your enamel and actually start just wearing away the enamel.
Unless your dentist advises otherwise, you should always use a soft-bristled brush. It's easy to push too hard with the brush when you're trying to get your toothbrushing done quickly, but it's better to slow down and brush gently. If you use an electric toothbrush, there's no need to push down hard at all. Just use a soft touch and let the brush do the work.
Your Allergy Medicine
Have you been taking antihistamines to prevent the coughing, sniffling, and sneezing that goes along with allergy season? If so, that may be contributing to the discoloration of your teeth. Some medications cause yellow stains or other discoloration as a side effect, and allergy medicine is a common culprit. Other medicines that can cause a problem include prescription acne medications and certain blood pressure medications.
Depending on the cause of your tooth discoloration, your dentist may be able to brighten up your smile with tooth whitening treatments. Be sure to let your dentist know what you suspect is causing the yellow stains, as that will help them decide which treatment is appropriate for you.