What’s With Those Pesky Yellow Canines?

image showing unevenly discolored teeth
Super white teeth are trending across the globe now more than ever before. Celebrities with spotless pearly whites sparked the whitening fad, and it isn’t slowing down. Between in office whitening and at-home kits, we will do anything for the bright white look. But as we try to achieve perfection, who else notices that some of your teeth are darker than others? These troublesome yellow canines catch my eye every time I look in the mirror.   For most people, the canines on top (next to the middle 4 teeth) and the 4 middle incisors on the bottom are more yellow than other teeth. But how is it that some teeth are more discolored than others when they all receive the same brushing, rinsing, and whitening treatment?  

Internal Color of Teeth

Enamel is the glossy, white exterior of a tooth. Underneath the enamel is dentin. Dentin is a color that naturally ranges from pale yellow to dark brown. This color is normally masked by enamel, but it shows through weakened, thin enamel. When enamel is at its thickest, teeth appear bright white. But as enamel weakens and becomes translucent, yellowing will appear. The color of dentin and thickness of enamel are both hereditary. Whiter teeth are covered in thicker enamel, and yellow teeth the opposite. You cannot increase the thickness of your enamel, but you can change the color of dentin through bleaching.   illustrations showing half yellow teeth and half white teeth  

Yellow Canines and Lower Incisors

What is the deal with these 6 teeth that are always a bit yellower than others? Your canines are the pointy teeth that you use to chew tough foods. Because canines withstand more wear and tear, they contain more dentin than other teeth. This extra thick dentin is covered with a thinner layer of enamel than other teeth. Thick dentin plus thin enamel is what causes these teeth to appear more yellow than others.  So as the enamel thins on all your teeth, these will always look the darkest. You no longer need to worry that you are doing a bad job brushing, it is all genetics.  

Aging Teeth

The older you are, the darker your teeth will appear because the protective enamel of your teeth has worn down. The only way to slow down this process is to preserve the thickness of your enamel as much as possible. Avoid sugar-filled, acid-producing drinks such as soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks. These will speed up the erosion of enamel and your canines will appear darker and darker.   All these genetic factors are unavoidable. Your teeth will naturally darken over time. However, you can slow down the process by protecting your enamel from acidic foods and drinks. Whitening treatments are a great way to restore the “whiteness” of weakening enamel, and we are happy to help you choose the right treatment for yourself.