The first things I notice on a person are their teeth. The shape, the size, how straight they are, and most importantly how white they are. I have always prided myself in maintaining my straight, bright white teeth; however, about two months into college I noticed that my teeth weren’t as white as they used to be. In fact, they were almost nearing a shade of yellow. I couldn’t understand why this was happening, I drink the same amount of coffee as I used to, possibly even less since I no longer have a coffee machine at my disposal, I’m brushing regularly, I don’t smoke… It wasn’t adding up. So, I decided to look into what could’ve caused this sudden yellowing of my teeth.
After looking through a few different websites, I found the following cause tooth yellowing:
- Antibiotics containing tetracycline
- Consuming red wine, coffee, tea, soda, carrots, blueberries- due to their pigmentation they are prone to staining teeth
- Consuming acidic fruits such as lemons, limes, clementines, etc. because they erode enamel
- Smoking- nicotine stains tetth
- Consuming fluoride- can lead to fluorosis which discolors teeth
- Grinding teeth- scrapes away enamel
I looked at this list, and not much of it pertained to me: I don’t take any antibiotics, I do drink tea and coffee (but not any more than I used to before my teeth started yellowing), I actually have eaten less acidic fruits because I don’t have access to them, I don’t smoke, and I don’t grind my teeth. I wasn’t sure about fluoride, I know that it’s in our toothpaste to strengthen our teeth, but I always thought it was a good thing. I looked into fluoride and it turns out that the water in America, meaning from the sink etc., is fluorinated in an effort to reduce tooth decay. However, there is evidence to show that it’s probably doing more harm than good in our water, as fluoride is very toxic. The FDA actually now mandates that all toothpastes and tooth products containing fluoride carry a warning of swallowing too much. Excessive fluoride can cause a discoloration of teeth or dental fluorosis. Excessive fluoride can also cause arthritis, bone frailty, glucose intolerance, and certain cancers. Although the absolute amounts of fluoride that cause these illnesses is yet to be defined, it seems as though the fluoride in our water is unnecessary. I’m not really sure why there is still fluoride in our water, as studies show that countries with non-fluorinated water have a decreasing tooth decay trend almost identical to those that do fluorinate their water. It seems as though Americans, and those living in countries with fluorinated water, may actually be getting too much fluoride. source
It might seem like I’m going off on a tangent about fluoride and what does this have to do with my yellowing teeth, but I’m getting to the point! Fluoride was the only variable I could think to change. I realized that since coming to college I drink water from the sinks and water fountains as it’s easier and I don’t have a filtration system. To see if this was making a difference, I stopped drinking any water not from a store bought water bottle for a little over a month. I ate the same foods, drank the same amount of tea and coffee, brushed my teeth regularly as usual, and in the end I noticed that my white smile was starting to come back. Although this could be do to third variables out of my control, or maybe just a freak chance, my experiment and my extra research on fluoride was enough to get me to stop drinking the water from the school’s pipes and I hope to have my white smile back soon.