What Causes Yellow Teeth? Understanding The 5 Most Common Culprits

We think you're great just the way you are - but just in case, we offer professional teeth whitening in downtown Portland from Dr. Richard Zeller. If you are in search of an even brighter smile, you may be wondering what caused your teeth to become yellow or stained in the first place.

What are the most common causes of yellow teeth? And is there anything you can do to prevent tooth stains in the future? In this blog from Five Pines Dental, we’ll go over the five most common factors that can cause yellow and stained teeth. 

1. Eating And Drinking Staining Foods And Beverages 

One of the most common causes of yellow and stained teeth is your diet. If you drink certain beverages like coffee, tea, sports drinks, and soda, they can leave stains on your teeth. Sugary drinks also contribute to the growth of plaque and tartar. This can lead to tooth decay, which may damage and discolor your teeth. 

It’s not just beverages either. Some foods like curries, tomato sauce, and soy sauce can also cause stains over time. A good rule of thumb is that any food that will easily stain your clothes can also easily stain your teeth.

This doesn’t mean you have to cut out these foods and drinks. However, cutting back can certainly help prevent stains. We also recommend brushing after you consume staining foods or beverages, or at least rinsing or drinking a glass of water if brushing is impractical.

2. Inadequate Oral Hygiene

If you’re not brushing and flossing correctly, bacteria-filled plaque builds up on your teeth. The plaque itself is invisible, but over time, it hardens into tartar, which is usually yellowish-brown in color and can make your teeth look stained.

If you want to keep your smile bright, make sure you’re brushing at least twice per day for two minutes with ADA-approved toothpaste, and flossing once per day. Visiting a dentist for a cleaning every six months also helps remove plaque and tartar, and keeps your teeth bright and beautiful.

3. Certain Lifestyle Choices

There are also some lifestyle choices that can cause yellow teeth, including smoking and the use of other types of oral tobacco. Over time, tobacco use can lead to severe yellow, brown, and dark stains on your teeth. If you want to keep your smile bright and your teeth healthy, consider quitting smoking and the use of other types of tobacco products.

4. Genetic Factors

Some people have thinner enamel due to genetic factors. Enamel is the bright, white, outermost layer of your teeth. If your enamel is thin, more of the second layer of your teeth may show through the enamel. 

This second layer is called “dentin,” which is much more yellow than enamel. So if you have weak or thin enamel due to genetics, your teeth may appear more yellow compared to other people, and you may also be more susceptible to oral health issues like cavities (tooth decay).

5. Enamel Wear Caused By Aging, Wear & Tear

Even if your teeth have strong enamel, they can be worn down over time. Your teeth go through a lot over the years, so if you’re an older person, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth may wear down, exposing more of the natural color of your dentin, and making your teeth look more yellow.

Explore Your Options For A Brighter Smile At Five Pines Dental

At Five Pines Dental, Dr. Zeller specializes in cosmetic dentistry, including teeth whitening, veneers, cosmetic dental crowns, and more. To learn more about your options and take the first steps toward a brighter smile, you can contact us online or give us a call at (503) 482-2160 to schedule a cosmetic consultation.

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