In your efforts to whiten your teeth, you may have noticed that the most stubbornly yellow teeth of all tend to be your canines. No matter how much you try to whiten all of your teeth to the same degree, your canines just won't whiten to the same degree as the rest of your teeth.
Don't worry. This has nothing to do with genetics or oral hygiene. There is a perfectly scientific explanation for this frustrating phenomenon.
All Teeth Contain Dentin
Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body; however, enamel is naturally white, not yellow. Dentin, on the other hand, which is the second hardest substance in the human body, is yellow and is responsible for both cushioning the enamel surface and keeping teeth nourished with nutrients that come from the blood vessels within the tooth.
Dentin is the reason that your canines are yellower than the rest of your teeth.
Canine Teeth Contain More Dentin
The reason that your canines are so frustratingly yellow is that they contain more dentin. Dentin is naturally pale yellow and sometimes even grey in colour. This is why when you whiten all of your teeth at the same time; your canines tend not to be as white as the rest. It has nothing to do with your brushing habits.
Because your canines are designed to cut and tear through tough foods such as steak, Mother Nature provided them with more dentin to serve as a cushion that can absorb the massive forces needed to tear through fibrous foods. Your central incisors by comparison are much whiter as they are designed for slicing rather than tearing.
Veneers or Bonding Can Whiten Canines
Although your canine teeth are not as noticeable as your other anterior (front) teeth, you may still be frustrated by your efforts to whiten them. If this is the case, over-the-counter products such as whitening strips will have little effect and you should probably look to cosmetic dentistry instead.
Porcelain veneers or composite bonding are both effective ways of teeth whitening because, rather than using chemicals, they act as oral facades that sit over teeth. Of the two, veneers are the both the longest lasting and the most expensive, but can give you 5-10 years in terms of keeping your canines white. Bonding last on average for 5 years but is prone to staining so think carefully before deciding which method to use.
If your yellow canines are too noticeable for your liking, speak to your dentist about getting veneers or bonding to solve the problem for the next 5-10 years.