1. YOU BRUSH TOO MUCH: Now here’s one you might not know. In recent years, studies have shown that those same whitening toothpastes that claim to turn your teeth into pearly whites can actually have the opposite effect if you’re using them too much. Bummer, right? The issue is that many of these are made with abrasive agents, which work by physically scrubbing away stains on the surface of your teeth. And in the prescribed amount, they can do their job without damaging enamel. But if you’re brushing too often, or using too much paste when you do, then there’s going to be an issue, and you’re going to end up exposing that same yellow-colored dentine we talked about.
2. YOU’RE GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED TO YELLOW TEETH: Fact of the matter is, not all enamel is created equal. Some of us are blessed with ultra-white stuff, protecting our teeth while at the same time looking aesthetically awesome to boot. On the other hand, there are whose teeth will never be quite whitewashed, simply because their bodies produce enamel in a particular unbleached hue. It’s the luck of the draw, really, and it’s unfair. Then again, so is life.
3. YOU DON’T BRUSH ENOUGH: Another obvious one here for you: if you’re not brushing your teeth at least twice a day—or better yet, after every meal like the dentist has been recommending you do since you were a kid—then you’re setting yourself up for failure, no matter how many whitening products you use down the line. The fact of the matter is that your mouth is a whirling cesspool of germs and leftover food, and without cleaning it regularly, that gross-ass mixture is going to set into your chompers. Can’t get to a toothbrush right after lunch? Then at least swish and spit some water to rid your face-hole of any potential staining materials.
4. OR YOU’RE A SMOKER: Don’t even get us fucking started. Cut that shit out, you absolute dumb-ass.
5. MAYBE YOU’RE JUST GETTING OLD: Bad news, fam: no matter how hard you try to whiten your teeth, they’re only going to get yellower from here on out. That’s because even healthy enamel starts to lose its luster as we age, succumbing bit by bit to the slow march of time. Which, in its own way, is comforting, if you think about it. In time, we’ll all be stuck with less-than-pristine teeth, of those we have left, flirting with the nurses for the last pudding cup at the retirement home.
6. OR YOU’RE TAKING A CERTAIN KIND OF MEDICINE: Fun fact: when you take a medicine, it doesn’t just target whatever it is you were prescribed it to treat. Au contraire, it spreads throughout the whole of your body via your bloodstream, making its way into just about every bit of you—including your teeth. And when they get there, certain drugs can actually have the unfortunate side-effect of darkening your fangs. Not that that should stop you from taking them of course, because your health definitely comes first, but it is something worth noting.