What Makes Teeth Turn Yellow?

Apr 8, 2024 | Blog Posts

What Makes Teeth Turn Yellow?

It’s incredibly common for people to be concerned about the shade of their smile. In fact, it’s the most common aspect of their smile that they say they’d like to improve[1]. Understanding the causes of yellow teeth can help you take action to achieve and maintain a stunning smile.

Plaque Can Impact Your Smile

Plaque is one of the most common causes of yellow teeth. Bacteria create these deposits in your mouth. Though these bacteria are always present, they can grow out of control due to poor oral hygiene and other factors. Plaque is like a film on the surface of your teeth, and it can eventually harden to form tartar, which is much more difficult to remove.

Plaque often has a yellow tint that can discolor teeth, and as it hardens to form tartar, it can grow darker and become even more noticeable. These deposits will also pick up stains from food and other sources much more quickly than the surface of teeth. Keeping up with regular dental visits helps manage plaque and tartar with professional teeth cleaning.

Stains From Food Are Another Culprit

Of course, the foods and beverages you consume are among the most prominent causes of yellow teeth. Coffee and tea are some of the most notable culprits due to their natural coloration and high acidity, but many other foods can also change the color of your teeth. Tomato sauce, vinegar, fruit juices, and sodas can all make your smile less bright if consumed in excess.

Tobacco Products Can Stain Your Teeth

Smoking, chewing tobacco, and using other tobacco products can lead to deep yellow stains. There are many reasons to avoid tobacco use for oral and overall health. While yellow teeth may be a minor addition to these concerns, it’s never hard to spot a smoker by their smile.

Pearly White Enamel Can Wear Away

Enamel is the material that makes up your tooth’s outer layer. It’s responsible for teeth’s white coloration and unique translucency, giving them their pearly sheen. However, tooth decay, grinding, and other factors can lead to enamel wearing away.

When that happens, the outer layer becomes thinner, allowing some dentin (the material that lies immediately below the enamel) to show through. Dentin has a much more yellow coloring than enamel, which can lead to noticeably yellow teeth.

Other Potential Causes of Yellow Teeth

Beyond the above causes, many other factors can contribute to yellow teeth. Some people have yellower teeth, for instance, and teeth can also change in shade with age. Various medical conditions and medication side effects can also contribute to tooth stains.

Regardless of the cause of yellowing teeth, one thing to remember is the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains affect the surface and are caused by plaque, food, and other sources, while inherent stains are deeper inside the tooth and show through the translucent enamel. They’re typically related to dental injury or side effects from medication.

Preventive Methods for Stopping Stains

Simply keeping up with an effective oral hygiene routine can help prevent stains. Brushing for at least four minutes twice a day and flossing twice a day work to remove plaque, bits of food, and other debris that can contribute to stains. You can also consider a whitening toothpaste or other over-the-counter teeth-whitening products, but focusing on your oral health first is the best approach.

Changing the Shade of Your Smile

Cosmetic dentistry treatments offer various options to improve your smile and remove stains. Professional teeth whitening with hydrogen peroxide gel can make your smile noticeably brighter after just one visit. This treatment works on the same basic principle as over-the-counter products but provides clinical-strength results.

Other options for intrinsic stains or discoloration due to worn enamel may be necessary. Porcelain veneers can brighten any smile by replacing the face of the affected teeth with a thin layer of porcelain.

Find Out More About Keeping Your Smile Bright

If you’re interested in dealing with tooth discoloration and improving the look of your smile, turn to Albion Family Dental. We can provide the regular dental care and advice you need, along with various treatment options for a stunning smile, including veneers, mouthguards that prevent grinding, and several cosmetic dentistry options. Reach out today to find out more about revitalizing your smile. Call us at 585-589-9044.



[1] https://www.mouthhealthy.org/all-topics-a-z/teeth-whitening