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Why Are My Teeth So Yellow?

If your teeth are starting to yellow, you may be wondering what exactly is causing those color changes. Understand the different reasons people have yellow teeth and what treatment options are available.

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Many of us want to light up the room with our pearly white smiles, but sometimes those pearly whites can become yellow and discolored. While yellow teeth are a common part of the aging process, there are some causes behind yellow teeth that may be a sign of poor oral health. If you find yourself frustrated with yellowing teeth, it’s important to understand what is the primary cause of the color change and what you can do about it.

What Causes Yellow Teeth?

Side-by-side image of a woman smiling, one side yellow teeth, one side white teeth

If you find yourself concerned about yellow teeth, here are the common reasons their color may be changing:

Lack of Oral Hygiene

Without proper oral hygiene, plaque and tartar can build up in your mouth. This spread of bacteria can affect the color of your teeth and wear them down over time. This is why it’s essential to floss, rinse, and brush your teeth and gums often to avoid discoloration.


As we age, it’s normal for our teeth to change. No matter how well we take care of ourselves, aging will affect everyone. As we use our teeth for many years, it’s natural for the enamel to break down. The dentin, or yellow tint, will then start showing after the many meals and drinks we’ve been consuming over time.


Despite proper oral hygiene, some people are more likely than others to experience teeth yellowing. Some individuals are simply born with thicker enamel, meaning it’s harder to see any teeth discoloration. While our genetics are unavoidable, there are still treatment measures available to help those with more noticeably yellow teeth.

Food or Beverage Stains

Some food and drink products are more likely to stain our teeth than others. Some of the most common teeth yellowing culprits include wine, coffee, and tomatoes. This is due to their higher acidic content that can affect the enamel in our teeth. While there is no need to avoid these entirely, it’s important to be aware of the amount you consume and take extra teeth-cleaning precautions.

Smoking Tobacco Products

If you chew tobacco or are a frequent smoker, this can greatly affect the color of your teeth. As the oxygen and the nicotine in tobacco react together, this can create a brown or yellow stain on your teeth. Tobacco not only affects the color of your teeth but can also lead to other diseases such as oral cancer or lung cancer.

What Symptoms Can Accompany Yellow Teeth?

While yellow teeth can appear without any other symptoms, they often may coincide with other signs of oral health decay. The symptoms commonly can include:

  • Sensitive teeth
  • Pain
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Gum swelling

How Can I Prevent Yellow Teeth?

Yellow teeth cannot always be avoided, especially with age. However, there are some yellow teeth prevention methods.

  • Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda
  • Brush your teeth everyday
  • Floss regularly
  • Activated charcoal
  • Drink beverages with a straw
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Use antiseptic mouth rinse
  • Get regular dental cleanings

What Yellow Teeth Treatments Are There?

There are a variety of different treatment options for yellow teeth. Before deciding what treatment you want, you will need an evaluation with a dental provider to create a specialized treatment plan based on your age, dental history, and genetics. Here are some common treatments for yellow teeth.

Teeth Scaling & Polishing

To keep your teeth healthy, some dental providers will perform a teeth scaling and polishing procedure. This starts by scaling or scraping tartar out of your mouth. After this, a dentist will polish the teeth with a coat of protective fluoride. All of this can help clean your teeth and keep them white.


In some cases, especially if you are older and have more tooth decay, veneers may be the best treatment option. The insertion of porcelain veneers is best used if there is too much wear and tear to recover and the patient simply wants a clean, fresh start.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening procedures usually occur as a laser teeth whitening or a gel treatment. This procedure can work with anyone who has stable teeth and good oral hygiene already but simply wants to brighten their teeth a bit.

If you have concerns about yellow teeth, contact your dentist to schedule an appointment today for an evaluation.

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Dr. Standish has been serving Clay County patients at Eagle Harbor Dental for over 40 years. His daughters Dr. Kelly & Dr. Erin joined the practice and they’ve been creating beautiful smiles as a family ever since. With extensive educations and memberships, our dentists are the best that Fleming Island has to offer.


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