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Yellow Teeth: Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Yellow Teeth: Causes, Treatment and Prevention

by Azka Munir · June 23, 2021

Are your yellow teeth stopping you from smiling to your fullest?

The yellowness in your teeth does not always indicate bad oral health. However, others may think that you do not take care of your dental hygiene.

To escape this embarrassment try whitening your teeth. This article discusses the causes and treatments of the stains and discoloration on your teeth. Keep reading to know how you can whiten yours.


Teeth Colors

Your teeth change color from baby to permanent adult teeth.

Primary teeth are the whitest because they are highly calcified.

Moreover, the dentin in babies is very light yellow hence, the teeth appear the whitest.

Teeth can be of white, yellow, brown and grayish-black color.

teeth colors


Though as soon as your permanent teeth appear, they are less calcified and your dentin becomes slightly yellower.

Now the dentin contains more tooth structure which contributes to the yellowness you see in the mirror.

The tooth enamel is translucent hence, the light yellow color of the dentin is apparent from underneath it and gives teeth a gray hue.

As you age, this color will get darker and your teeth will become yellower.

However, stains also contribute to yellow discoloration.

The foods and drinks you consume, as well as the plaque buildup and habits like teeth grinding all lead to staining. More on that below!

This needs immediate attention and treatment as over time the stains can become permanent and will only go away after a Dental Whitening treatment.


If the yellow stains become stronger and are not effectively removed, they turn brown.

The discoloration can worsen because of age, taking some medicines, genetics or injury to the tooth.

Though, the brown color on the teeth indicates the use of smoking and chewing tobacco.

It can also be due to drinking dark-colored beverages like coffee and tea.

Though, if you have brown spots then they point towards tooth decay which may result from inadequate brushing, flossing and plaque removal in your mouth.


Cavities and decay also turn teeth black.

Though contact with minerals such as silver and iron can also form a black line on your teeth.

You may take these supplements or have some exposure at work.

Black is a rare discoloration just like purple.

Your teeth can turn purple because of excessively drinking red wine.

There are several other causes behind these stains. Let’s find them out below!


Yellow Teeth Causes

Your teeth can stain because of extrinsic and intrinsic discoloration.

Extrinsic discoloration is in the front of the teeth on the enamel because of consuming colored foods and drinks.

Whereas intrinsic stains are inside the teeth mostly due to injury, age or medicines.

yellow teeth causes

Food and DrinksColored food and drinks that can heavily stain your teeth include:

  • Red and blue berries
  • Tomatoes and Tomato sauce, potatoes and apples
  • Dressings like soy sauce and balsamic vinegar
  • Coffee, tea and red wine
  • Carbonated drinks and sports drinks with artificial flavoring
  • Sugary foods such as candies and chocolates which can accumulate plaque

These foods and drinks are not only dark in color but can also encourage the buildup of bacteria and plaque.

If you do not clean plaque by brushing teeth and flossing then it hardens and stains the teeth permanently.

Drinks such as coffee and tea contain tannins with blemishing properties.

It sticks on the enamel and tarnishes its surface, exposing the dentin making teeth look yellow.

Moreover, smoking also creates a yellow-brownish stain on your enamel which is harder to remove.


If your child uses an excess of fluorides such as fluoride toothpaste, fluoride mouthwash and fluoridated water then they can get white, yellow or brown spots on their treatment.

It is much more probably in children with baby teeth.

Hence, you control their use of fluoride before they consume too much of it and form spots.

You can remove extrinsic stains using home remedies and whitening kits.

intrinsic discoloration

Intrinsic Discoloration


Aging affects the enamel and the dentin.

The pulp reduces as the tooth lays down dentin hence the translucent enamel thins down and the yellow color of the dentin is more visible.

The enamel also wears down due to the chewing and biting action over the years.

The acids in food also attach to the enamel thinning it down.

Enamel thinning allows the yellow and brown dentin to appear in the look of the teeth.

It could also give a gray appearance when the enamel thinning combines with a permanent food stain.


Some people inherit their tooth color.

Their teeth are naturally yellower and darker because their parents have the same natural color.


Tetracyclines and doxycycline can stain the teeth of children under 8 years of age.

In fact, if pregnant mothers take tetracyclines then they can discolor the primary dentition of the fetus.

Moreover, antibiotics can turn your teeth gray-brown.

Also, antipsychotic drugs, medicines for blood pressure and antihistamines can all darken the enamel.

Certain mouthwashes with the ingredient cetylpyridinium chloride may also discolor the enamel by eroding it.

Diseases and Injury

Cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy especially in the head and neck area cause teeth to lose their whiteness.

Moreover, dentists use silver sulfide in amalgam fillings which leaves a gray-black hue on teeth.

Pregnant mothers may get infections that affect the teeth discoloration of their fetuses.

Moreover, any disease that affects the enamel and dentin will bring about some discoloration.

An injury or accident to the teeth can crack the enamel.

Hence, it harms the enamel, weakens it and the interior of the tooth, therefore, the tooth discolor.

It can also disrupt enamel formation in young children who are still developing thereby resulting in discoloration.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding also known as bruxism weakens the enamel over time.

You may do it unconsciously while sleeping, but it is slowly thing your enamel and making it more prone to staining and discoloration.

In fact, the enamel may also crack because it becomes quite weak.

Discuss with your dentist how you can stop doing it unconsciously.

You should maintain good oral hygiene to prevent the stains from becoming permanent.

Brushing twice and flossing daily can prevent the buildup of plaque.

Though you cannot control the intrinsic stains, you can still manage the extrinsic ones.

Brush your teeth half an hour after you drink coffee, tea, energy drinks or red and white wine.

Similarly, when you eat curries and sauces, clean your teeth afterward.

You can clean extrinsic stains with teeth whitening home remedies but you will need dental treatment for intrinsic ones.

Read more about them below.


Yellow Teeth Treatment

Have you decided to whiten your teeth?

Your options are to use whitening systems, get a dental treatment or first try at home with available products.

Your fastest solution is an in-office teeth whitening session.

However, you can give home remedies a try to see if they can remove your surface stains.

laser dental treatment

Popular teeth whitening remedies include:

  • Baking Soda
  • Oil Pulling
  • Fruit Peel

Baking soda can act as a mild abrasive which reduces any acid-based food stains.

This is because baking soda is alkaline and also salty.

Even toothpaste with baking soda can whiten teeth to some extent.

However, you can make your own toothpaste by using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.

Take a tablespoon of baking soda and two of hydrogen peroxide.

Mix them and brush with the mixture daily. You may see a slight change in your teeth color by 6 weeks.

Oil pulling involves the use of coconut, sesame or sunflower oil and swishing it around your mouth for about half an hour.

This old technique removes plaque and food stuck between the teeth.

It acts similar to a mouthwash but it helps in whitening as it removes plaque and bacteria that stain the teeth.

However, you should use a high-quality oil to reap the benefits and rinse your mouth afterward.

Similarly rubbing the peels of fruits such as lemon, banana and orange is also known to be effective.

The peels of these fruits contain citric acid that may have a whitening effect.

Do not rub harshly but gently for two minutes. Later rinse and brush.

However, be careful after all citric acid is an acid that can erode the enamel.

You should stop whenever you notice slight sensitivity.

On the other hand, whitening kits and dental whitening procedures are much safer.

woman getting zoom teeth whitening

How to Whiten Teeth Using Systems and Dental treatments

Teeth whitening systems include:

  • Whitening Toothpaste-can lighten teeth up to one shade
  • Whitening Strips and gels -The gel contains 10 to 20 percent of hydrogen peroxide concentration and can whiten teeth in 2 weeks which can last up to 4 months.
  • Trays or Mouthguards-Put the gel in the trays and use them for 4 weeks
  • Mouthwashes-Swiah the whitening mouthwash in your mouth for 2 to 3 minutes. It is the most ineffective as the mouth rinse remains in contact with the teeth for the least time

Dental Whitening Procedures

Your dentist may carry out a Zoom Teeth Whitening procedure or a Laser Dental Whitening treatment.

Both of these procedures are quick and give you much whiter shades of teeth when you leave.

The dentist applies the peroxide gel which is much higher in concentration than the one available over-the-counter.

Then in zoom whitening, they apply the light to all teeth which releases oxygen from the gel and applies it to the dentin.

Whereas in laser treatments, the dentist goes individually over every teeth.

Discuss your preference with your dentist and choose the right procedure.

yellow teeth turned white after treatment


After any whitening treatment, you should take special care of your teeth to not fall back into staining and discoloration.

Get rid of bad habits such as smoking, drinking excessive coffee, tea and energy drinks.

If you do want to drink them, then use a straw so that the drink does not come in direct contact with your teeth.

Brush and floss regularly to clear plaque accumulation, also use mouthwash occasionally.

You can keep your teeth white and squeaky clean if you visit the dentist regularly.

It is much easier to prevent yellow teeth than to whiten them.

Hence, maintain good oral hygiene habits throughout your life.

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