Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?

If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and wondered “Why are my teeth stained?” you’re not alone. Teeth can be stained yellow, as well as a spectrum of other colors, including orange-red, green, blue, brown, gray and black. The discoloration can appear gradually and be overlooked until you need to look your best for a special event or the color becomes noticeably darker. There are many reasons for teeth stains. Here are 10 common ways teeth can be stained.

10 Common Reasons for Stained Teeth

1 Foods

Berries, tomatoes and other highly pigmented items are foods that stain your teeth. In a way, your mother was right when she said candy, popsicles and sugary chewing gum make your teeth yellow or stained. A diet high in sugar and simple carbohydrates can welcome bacteria and discolor teeth.

2 Drinks

Does tea stain your teeth? Yes, colored beverages, such as red wine, coffee and black tea, can stain if they sit on your teeth throughout the day. Colas and sports drinks often are high in sugar and can do the same.

3 Smoking

Though not a surprise to many, you also can get stained, brown teeth from smoking. Tobacco products – from cigarettes to pipe smoke to chewing tobacco – can stain and turn your teeth darker over time.

4 Medication

Certain antibiotics can turn them gray-brown. Medications, such as doxycycline and tetracycline, can darken teeth for children younger than 8 years old. Some antihistamines, drugs for high blood pressure and antipsychotic meds also can stain adult teeth. Talk to your physician about potential side effects of medications you’re currently or might start taking.

5 Illness

A less common cause of tooth discoloration can be a disease that affects enamel or treatment of a disease, such as chemotherapy and/or radiation used to treat cancer. In this case, the discoloration is more of a brownish color. Note that, besides stained teeth, illnesses also can be the culprit behind other mouth ailments.

6 Mild Tooth Trauma

Teeth can change colors if they experience severe shock after a fall or accident. Although more often gray or black in adults, a traumatized tooth in a child can turn yellow or brown. If you suspect a tooth has experienced trauma, see your dentist to get it checked out.

7 Genetics

It also might be possible that you inherited teeth that stain more easily or have enamel that is inherently yellow.

8 Aging

If left untreated, stained teeth can become more obvious over the years. Teeth also can start appearing more yellow as a natural part of the aging process. As you age, your tooth enamel can become thinner, allowing yellow dentin to show through.

9 Excessive Fluoride

Fluorosis, an overexpose to fluoride when you’re young, can cause your teeth to appear discolored. This is often caused by overconsumption of fluoridated drinking water, juices, supplements and more as a child.

10 Poor Oral Hygiene

Stained teeth also can be a sign of plaque buildup or tooth decay. When you do not routinely brush, floss and rinse your mouth to remove plaque buildup and help prevent tartar buildup, this can hasten teeth discoloration

Strategies for Dealing with Yellow Teeth

There are many ways to slow or reverse the yellowing of teeth, some natural and some performed at the dental office.

Dental Remedies for Yellow Teeth

A “bleaching” procedure done by a dental professional is safe, quick, affordable, and the most proven method for whitening teeth. It takes about one or two days to have your custom bleach splints made and then, using a special bleaching agent, you wear the device for 3-4 hours a day. Complete whitening should occur with one to two weeks. After that, you only need to do occasional treatments to keep your teeth white.

Another option is making sure to visit the dental hygienist every six months for a deep cleaning to remove tartar build-up. The polishing is done at the end of the procedure often makes your teeth appear brighter. More drastic results, though, require the bleaching process.

A word about at-home whitening kits that include strips, gels, and trays. They can be effective, but they can also contain harsher chemicals that cause harm to the gums and teeth.

Natural Remedies for Yellow Teeth

In addition to regular brushing and flossing, you might want to try a natural solution. Though you probably won’t get the brilliant white results you do with dental treatments, you may see a noticeable difference.

  • Try changing your dietary habits, eliminating food and drink that contains tannins such as wine, tea, coffee, juices, and dark sodas. The acid in citrus products can also wear down your tooth enamel.
  • Some people swear by brushing with baking soda and a recent study found it to be a safe way to remove some staining.
  • You’ve likely seen a lot of products with activated charcoal in them that claim to brighten your smile. To date, there’s no hard science to back this up. It is abrasive, so if you try it, limit it to once or twice a week.

The most natural solution of all is to drink lots of water! It washes away food particles and bacteria that can damage the enamel.




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