happy selfCredit: Flickr ( by Mait Jüriado )Your teeth serve as one of your main markers for beauty. It is the first thing a new person you meet notices. It will also say a lot about you. For example, if you lack oral hygiene and it shows (tooth abrasion, yellow teeth), a person’s pre-conceived notion about you or your intelligence will definitely not be a 10 and that obviously is a negative review.

It is an investment to spend hundreds or even thousands on oral health because in return, your social life or career will be a hit. A healthy set of teeth will not only give you the perfect smile but it will also make you appear younger by smiling more often and using your facial muscles more often as well.

One of the most embarrassing drawbacks to having perfect teeth is discolored teeth or, yellow teeth. There are many causes to yellow teeth, some of which are the usage of tobacco, food and drinks, poor dental hygiene and medications.

It has been a constant reminder not only by our family members but also the media of how smoking or tobacco is detrimental to our health. That is also true to your oral health. Cigarettes contain an ingredient called ‘nicotine’ that not only will give smokers chronic bronchitis, emphysema and more heart problems and blood clots but also gum diseases and oral cancer. Aside from that, smoking or chewing tobacco can stain your teeth. The more you smoke, the more possibility of your teeth turning yellow.

Your food and drinks consumption also plays a huge role in maintaining healthy, bright, white teeth. Beverages such as coffee, tea, colas, wines, and some fruits and vegetables like pies and berries (blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, grapes) can stain your teeth. Your parents were right too when they told you to steer clear from eating too much sweets. Candies contain teeth-staining coloring agents that will yellow your teeth.

What makes these foods and beverages color your teeth are the pigmented molecules, chromogens that have a tendency of clasping on to your enamels. Aside from chromogens, acidic foods also do more harm to your teeth. They erode your dental enamel and soften your teeth to allow chromogens to easily latch on to your teeth. The more you refrain from such teeth-staining foods, the less likely your teeth would yellow.

It is said that certain mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride can also stain teeth. Antipsychotic drugs and drugs for high blood pressure also cause teeth discoloration. You should also refrain from giving your kids (below 8) medication or antibiotics that contain tetracycline and doxycycline as they tend to decolorize teeth that are still developing. Consult your doctor to which other medication would be suitable, should you decide to switch.

You should have a clear picture by now what is good for your teeth and what is not. One thing is for sure, if you are smoker, do consider quitting. Not only will you do your overall health a favor, you will also manage to save more cash than you do in a month! Make a few simple lifestyle changes and you are on your way to a perfect set of white, bright, healthy teeth! Cut back on your coffee dosage and use a straw when you drink. It is said to prevent teeth staining. Instead of munching on unhealthy snacks, why not snack on foods such as unsweetened fruit juice or unsalted popcorn. If you however decide on eating teeth-staining foods, you may want to rinse off the sugar from the mouth with a glass of milk.

If your teeth are already stained, no worries, there are other dental treatments that you can try like veneers, over-the-counter whitening agents and whitening procedures that your dentist will recommend the best for you. In the mean time, stay away from teeth-whitening foods and beverages and also cut down on smoking. All the best!