Facial wrinkles and sagging skin may be the most prominent signs of aging, but did you know that yellowing teeth can also be one of the most visible indicators that you’re getting older?

As you age, your enamel (the white outer surface of the teeth) gets thinner and the underlying dentin (yellowish tissue covered by the enamel) gets thicker. This gradual natural change would obviously result in the dentin’s color being more prominent on your teeth.

Of course, even young adults would have yellow teeth, and most of the time, it’s due to bad habits linked to oral health that stain the teeth or make the enamel thinner or stain the teeth. You might be smoking or drinking a lot of dark, acidic or alcoholic beverages like coffee, wine and tea, which could all tarnish the pearly white appearance of your teeth.

How do you revive your pearly whites? Consider these three tips from a cosmetic dentist:

1. Use what you already have.

There are various at-home remedies that have been known to whiten teeth. You can try brushing your teeth with baking soda, which can help scrub away the staining particles attached to your teeth. Some would recommend mixing baking soda with lemon juice or using apple cider vinegar, but since those liquids are acidic, they could end up causing more enamel damage if not used in moderation. You can also try rubbing the inside of a banana peel on the surface of your teeth or swishing coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes.

2. Eat and drink the right stuff.

There are also several foods that can help whiten teeth. You can chomp on strawberries, apples and pineapples, which have components that help remove bacteria and plaque. You can also chew on cheese, chocolate (preferably the low-sugar types) and nuts that are mildly abrasive and promote saliva production, which then helps prevent the erosion of enamel and tooth decay.

3. Explore professional dental treatments.

Doing your own teeth whitening can be risky at best and disastrous at worst, so it’s advisable to see a professional for safe and more effective teeth whitening treatments. A clinic offering cosmetic dentistry services, such as McNulty & Dancausse General Dentistry in Charlotte, NC, can check your teeth and recommend the appropriate solutions to improve their appearance. If the basic procedures won’t give you the shade of white you desire, you can try getting porcelain veneers for natural-looking, visibly whiter teeth.

Sources:

The Inevitability of Yellow Teeth, The New York Times

How to Whiten Your Teeth Using Stuff You Already Have, StyleCaster

7 Foods That Naturally Whiten Your Teeth, Tech Times