Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered: why are my teeth yellow? Then you’re not alone. Most people will suffer from varying degrees of yellow and discolored teeth throughout their lives, but why? Check out these common causes of yellow teeth and find out how to keep your smile super white.

What causes yellow teeth?

Age – we’re all born with a thick layer of white enamel on our teeth which covers the naturally yellow dentin layer beneath. Although enamel is harder than bone, it will still wear away as we age and become semi-translucent, allowing the yellow dentin to become more visible. In short, the longer you’ve had your teeth, the less enamel they’ll have and the yellower they’ll appear.

Food and drink – if you consume lots of foods and drinks which contain strong colorings, sugar and acid then this will wear away your enamel and cause staining. The worst drinks for teeth staining are black tea, coffee, wine and soda, while eating candy, tomato sauce, berries and citrus fruit can stain your teeth over time.

Smoking – tar and nicotine from tobacco will stain teeth yellow and turn them brown over time; chewing tobacco is especially bad for staining. Smoking can also lead to gum disease, tooth decay and cancer so it’s the most harmful habit for oral health.

Brushing at the wrong time If you only brush and floss once per day it is best to do it after ones last meal of the day. At  night when you are asleep is the best time of the day for bacteria to form around teeth and gums.   It might sound strange, but brushing straight after meals can actually cause more harm than good, especially if you’ve just consumed acidic or sugary foods and drinks. These will soften enamel so if you brush straight away, you’ll be wearing your enamel down. Instead, rinse your mouth with water and wait for an hour while your enamel hardens before brushing.

Medication use – children under eight whose permanent teeth are still forming can develop yellowing if they take antibiotics often. In adults, blood pressure and anti-psychotic meds can also cause yellow teeth. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy have also been known to weaken teeth and cause discoloration.

Poor dental hygiene routine – if you don’t brush your teeth and floss at least twice a day, you’re increasing your chances of developing yellow teeth. Plaque and tartar will build-up on your teeth, staining them and possibly leading to gum disease and tooth decay.

Too much fluoride – consuming too much fluoride when you’re a child can cause teeth mottling and discoloration. This is known as fluorosis and it occurs when a child’s permanent teeth are just forming and is normally caused by high levels of fluoride in drinking water.

It runs in the family – our teeth naturally come in 28 different shades ranging from yellow to gray. Most of us start out with an A2 shade, which is ivory in colour rather than B1, which is the whitest natural shade. Your shade is genetically determined so yellow teeth could simply run in your family.

How can I avoid yellow teeth?

Follow these top tips to avoid, minimize and treat yellow teeth:

  • Watch what you eat – cut down on staining foods and drinks.
  • Don’t smoke – quitting your smoking habit is the best thing you can do for your oral, and overall, health.
  • Brush and floss – at least twice a day and rinse your mouth with water after meals.
  • Avoid snacking between meals – this will allow saliva to build up and naturally dilute acid in your mouth.
  • Visit your dentist – every three to six months for a check-up as well as a scale and polish to remove surface stains.


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About Life-Like: Life-Like Cosmetic Solutions provides dental products for teeth whitening. Cosmetic dentists use Life-Like’s professional whitening kits in their practice and offer teeth bleaching kits for at-home use. Visit the website at http://life-like.com to learn how to participate in the “Marketing for Dentists” program at no cost. “Like” the Facebook page to receive regular tips on teeth whitener products. Call 800-543-3545 for more information about increasing practice revenue through professional dental whitening.