Why Your Teeth Change Color As You Age
White, bright teeth are associated with youth, and there's a good reason for that. Most people's teeth change colors gradually as they age, becoming more yellow or brown as people get older. If you're getting on in years and you feel like your teeth don't look as good as they once did, then it's likely not your imagination. Here's what's going on.
What Looks White
The white that's typically associated with teeth is actually only the external layer of the tooth. Like any other bone, the white part of it is on the outside. With the teeth, this is the enamel layer that's responsible for protecting the tooth from threats like bacteria and plaque.
Not all of the tooth looks white, though. If you were to open a tooth, you would see that it looks a lot like the inside of a bone. The inner surfaces of the teeth tend to be yellow or brown. These structures aren't ever supposed to be on the surface of the teeth, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they can't be seen.
As you age, your teeth go through a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis. Chewing is just one way that they get worn down. The acid in food and drinks that you consume, plus behaviors like nail biting, teeth grinding, and just being exposed to an onslaught of bacteria on a daily basis will gradually wear teeth down over time.
When this happens, the enamel layer of the tooth becomes thinner. This means that the luster of the tooth is lost, first and foremost. This is why even bleaching your teeth may not give you the look that you're after.
Once the enamel layer has become thin enough, the inner dentin layer starts to shine through, which as previously mentioned, is yellow or brown. This can make teeth look dingy and dirty even when they're freshly scrubbed.
While this is an unfortunate part of aging for most people, that doesn't mean that you have to tolerate its effects. You have a couple of options available to you: you can have your teeth professionally whitened, which will give you better results than you can get at home. Alternatively, you can have dental veneers placed over your teeth that will give them both the whiteness and the shining luster that you remember your teeth having when you were young. Speak with a cosmetic dentist today.