This Is Why Yellow Teeth Are Actually Stronger Than White Teeth

According to Civic Science, 48% of American adults are at least interested in whitening their teeth and half have used an over-the-counter whitening product. Additionally, a OnePoll study conducted on behalf of Snow Teeth Whitening found that 57% of Americans cover their mouths when they laugh due to insecurities about their smile (via New York Post). When people were asked why they were self-conscious about showing their cuspids, not having white teeth was the most common response.

Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist Kevin Sands told The Healthy, "Enamel can appear to be bluish-white due to natural translucence some people have in their teeth." He continued, "The dentin beneath is naturally yellow, it has to do with its chemical structure composition." Although pearly white teeth may be the beauty standard in the United States, teeth with a more yellowed appearance are perfectly natural — and they can actually be a sign of stronger chompers. 

Beware of thinning your enamel

Though some amount of yellow may be natural, darker yellow can point to health concerns. According to Science Focus, smoking and metabolic disorders can cause teeth to turn a darker yellow color. Other causes of dark yellow teeth that intertwine with health habits include stains from drinking coffee, wine, or cola and not properly brushing, flossing, or rinsing your teeth (via WebMD). At the same time, there are some causes for dark yellow teeth that don't reflect poor health or particular habits, such as aging (especially after turning 30), some medications, or experiencing tooth trauma.

Regardless of the reason, though, bleaching is a solution many people turn to for a whiter smile. As long as whiteners are used as directed, your risk for damaging the enamel is low. However, cosmetic dentist Kevin Sands told The Healthy that layers of enamel can actually be removed if you bleach your teeth using something abrasive. Additionally, Adriana Manso, a clinical assistant professor in the Faculty of Dentistry, told The University of British Columbia that hydrogen peroxide can thin your enamel. "Bleaching products used by the dentist for in-office therapies can have higher peroxide concentrations of up to 40 percent," she said. "Over-the-counter products like strips or gels usually contain [a] lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide." 

Experiencing new sensitivities, especially around the gum line, is a sign that your teeth are weakening. If this happens, it's a good idea to make an appointment with your dentist.

How to have strong white teeth without bleaching

If the idea of having yellow teeth makes you feel insecure, know that there are ways to naturally whiten them in a manner that keeps them healthy and strong. Medical News Today recommends upping your vitamin C intake as not getting enough can actually make buildup and discoloration worse. Adding fruit enzymes from papaya and pineapple to your toothpaste, both of which have vitamin C, can help remove stains. They also suggest coconut oil pulling, a method in which you swish coconut oil around in your mouth. Studies have shown that doing so can remove plaque buildup which causes discoloration.

As with any whitening measurement, even the most natural options can become harmful if overused. At the end of the day, it's important to remember that healthy, strong teeth are more important than pearly white teeth. If your smile comes with a little ray of sunshine, don't sweat it.