What Makes Teeth Turn Yellow?

If you’ve recently noticed that your teeth appear to have a yellowish tint, you’re not alone. As we age, a variety of factors combine to make our teeth appear yellow – from stains caused by food, drinks, tobacco, and certain medications, to natural variations in enamel. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the more common culprits of yellow teeth.

  1. Diet
  2. We all know our diet is important to our overall health, but you may be overlooking how much your diet affects your oral health. Dark foods and drinks, such as red wine, coffee, balsamic vinegar, and berries, can stain your tooth’s outer layer, the enamel. Moreover, acidic foods and drinks, like citrus and soda, can dissolve and thin your enamel. Drinking enough water and maintaining an excellent preventive care routine will help limit tooth discoloration and damage, so brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time and floss every day.

    Aerial view of a cluster of acidic grapefruits, oranges, lemons, and limes

  3. Genetics
  4. Believe it or not, some amount of yellow in your teeth is natural! This is because dentin, the substance that makes up the majority of each tooth, is yellow. More or less yellow tint from the underlying dentin may show through your enamel, depending on its thickness, which is a result of genetics and lifestyle factors, such as diet, oral hygiene, and any nighttime teeth grinding.

  5. Smoking
  6. Smoking will gradually change the shade of your teeth from yellow to even brown with prolonged exposure. Chemicals in cigarettes, like tar and nicotine, slowly absorb into and discolor your enamel. We recommend quitting smoking ASAP to protect your health!

    Closeup of a man smoking a dangerous cigarette that will cause bad breath and tooth discoloration

  7. Other Factors
  8. Certain medications can cause yellowing of teeth, so let your doctor know if you notice any changes in the color of your teeth after taking a new drug. Additionally, if you consumed excessive fluoride as a child while your permanent teeth were developing under your gums, your teeth may exhibit discoloration. Fluoride is a amazing natural mineral that strengthens enamel and is harmless in small doses, but in high amounts can negatively affect the mineralization of developing teeth. To protect your own children from consuming too much fluoride, make sure that they never swallow their toothpaste. They only need to use a grain-of-rice-sized amount of toothpaste until their third birthday, and only a pea-sized amount until their sixth birthday.

Ask About Our Cosmetic Dentistry Options!

At Austex Dental, we want our patients to have a set of pearly whites they are proud to show off. To help you get the bright, white smile you’ve always wanted, we offer dental veneers and two professional teeth whitening options: custom-tray teeth whitening and one-size tray teeth whitening. To schedule a cosmetic dentistry consultation or to ask our team any questions about how to protect your teeth from future discoloration, contact our office today!

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