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Why Do Teeth Lose Their Whiteness with Age?

A bright, healthy-looking smile helps you feel more confident and look younger. Unfortunately, as we age, our teeth can often look yellowed and dingy, despite our best efforts with brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings.

Marvin Taylor, DDS, and the team at Dr Taylor’s Family Dental Center help patients battle age-related tooth discoloration with professional teeth whitening and dental veneers for custom solutions that leave you smiling — literally. Here’s why your teeth may be looking dingier as you age.

Aging and tooth color

When we look at our teeth, it’s easy to think of them as one single material through the tooth. But teeth are much more complex than that. 

The outer portion we see — and the portion that gives teeth their white color — is the enamel layer. Enamel is the hardest substance in your body, as hard as steel. But it’s not indestructible.

Underneath the enamel layer is a layer of another material called dentin that provides underlying support for the enamel and gives your tooth strength. Unlike enamel, which tends to appear creamy white, dentin has a yellowish hue.

As we get older, years of biting and chewing begin to wear down the enamel layer, revealing more underlying dentin, resulting in teeth that look yellower or grayer than they did when we were young.

Contributing factors

Enamel thinning isn’t the only consequence of aging. Years of consuming foods and drinks with staining pigments can result in staining and yellowing. Foods and drinks high in acids soften the enamel, allowing those stains to penetrate more deeply.

If you’re a long-term smoker, you can’t simply brush away stains left behind. Medication use and underlying health issues that we develop later in life, like liver disease or metabolic disease, can cause yellowing, too.

Restoring your pearly whites

Dr. Taylor offers two types of professional teeth whitening: Zoom!® and Epic® teeth whitening systems. Each uses special whitening agents only available through dentists that lift away years of stains and whiten your enamel. 

Of course, if your enamel is thin, teeth whitening might not be the ideal solution. Instead, dental veneers can help. These thin, tooth-shaped “covers” for your teeth hide deep stains and discoloration, giving your smile a whiter, brighter, more youthful appearance.

Both options can transform your smile, making it look healthier, brighter, and younger. During your visit, we examine your teeth to determine what’s causing your discoloration so we can recommend the right choice for you. 

Learn more about professional whitening

Don’t let your smile age you. We have solutions that can help. To learn more, call 248-681-8100 today or request an appointment online at Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center in Waterford, Michigan.

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