In a perfect world, everyone would have sparkling white teeth. White teeth are healthy, and they significantly boost your self-confidence. However, you'll need to take specific steps to prevent your teeth from losing their original glow. This is because many different elements can cause staining and discolouration in your teeth.

Two of the most common culprits that cause yellow teeth are tartar and stains. While bacteria inside your mouth cause tartar, stains are caused by food that you may eat at any given time.

Here's a breakdown of both causes and how you can prevent them from yellowing your teeth.

Tartar leads to the formation of plaque

The mouth has up to 200 different species of bacteria. These bacteria help with food digestion, the production of saliva and the spread of nutrients inside your mouth. However, when bacteria combine with food in your diet, they tend to form plaque.

Plaque is a film that accumulates on your enamel or in the gaps between your teeth. If you brush and floss your teeth regularly, you will keep plaque at a minimum and enjoy white and healthy teeth.

However, failing to practice proper dental hygiene may result in plaque turning into tartar. Tartar is essentially a hardened form of plaque, and it solidifies on your teeth over time. Tartar discolours your enamel and may also result in decay. In fact, tartar may irritate the gums and cause bleeding or loose teeth over time.

Make sure you consult your dentist regarding tartar removal. This will restore the glow and health of your teeth.

Stains can be extrinsic or intrinsic

In addition to tartar, your teeth may become stained because of what you eat. Stains will accumulate on the surface of your enamel, or they may also become deeply embedded inside each tooth.

Extrinsic stains are caused by dietary choices such as coffee, cigarettes and coloured beverages. As long as you brush regularly to remove such stains, you'll be able to maintain white teeth. You may also need to use whitening products such as toothpaste, laser kits or whitening strips to eliminate extrinsic stains.

Intrinsic stains tend to be more complicated. Certain medical conditions (or drugs that you're taking) will cause intrinsic stains. Because these stains occur deep inside your enamel, they can only be removed by a dentist via in-office teeth whitening. Your dentist will use a powerful peroxide bleach to eliminate such stains and restore the natural glow of your teeth.