Since childhood, you’ve probably heard from your dentists, parents and advertisements that brushing your teeth with toothpaste is essential if you want a sparkling white smile. But one of the common causes of yellow and discolored teeth requires us to think twice about your oral hygiene habits.
Obviously plaque buildup and coffee or food stains are among the most common causes of yellowing and discoloration, “the third one will surprise many people; It can also be “brushing your teeth too hard”.
Yes, apparently there is such a thing as over-brushing your teeth. So how does excessive brushing lead to yellow teeth, and how long should you actually brush your teeth a day?
Why Does Excessive Brushing Cause Yellow Teeth?
Excessive Brushing erodes tooth enamel
There are two ways that excessive brushing can cause teeth to turn yellow. Brushing too hard or too often can strip the enamel of the tooth, causing it to appear more yellow.
Tooth enamel is difficult to erode, but it is possible. When this happens, the second layer of the tooth, called the dentin layer, is exposed.
Dentin is living tissue with tubules, these tubules are connected to the nerves in the teeth and when not protected by enamel, they become more sensitive to cold, acidic or sugary foods and drinks.
Excessive Brushing Causes Gum Recession
Another reason why brushing too hard or too often can cause teeth to turn yellow is gum recession. The small thin layer of gingival tissue covering the base of the tooth is called the free gingival border. Constantly brushing hard and horizontally into this free margin – especially if the toothbrush has stiff, nylon bristles – will begin to peel off the gums and expose the root of the tooth.
This root part of the tooth is also more yellow and, like the dentin layer, cannot be whitened or cleaned at the dentist appointment.
How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth?
Both the softness and quality of the bristles on your toothbrush are important, but we generally recommend brushing for two minutes, twice a day.
Too much yellowing of the teeth can be an external discoloration. This is caused by tartar and plaque buildup, as well as food and drink staining. All these external factors can be reversed with a dental cleaning and polish.
If the yellowing does not go away after cleaning, even tooth decay may occur in the cavities formed after gingival recession or excessive brushing. Those with such concerns should consult their dentist.