Yellow Teeth - Causes and Prevention

Woman Covering Her Teeth

Tooth discolouration or teeth turning yellow can be due to various factors, including aging. Though it happens naturally, there are also causes that you can control.

If you want to lighten the shade of your teeth, start with a dental consultation to understand your tooth staining triggers. Before trying over-the-counter tooth-whitening products, hear from your dentist about which options are suitable.

Before you book that dental visit, let’s talk about the potential causes of yellow teeth and what you can do to minimize tooth discolouration.

  1. Smoking

    Tar and nicotine from cigarettes can stain the teeth. They leave yellowish or brownish pigments and also cause tooth decay.

    There’s no quick way to get rid of these stains, but withdrawing from smoking can improve the appearance and health of your teeth over time.

    Since cigarette smoking is the culprit, the best way to protect your smile is to eliminate the habit. Your dental team can offer smoking cessation support and guidance.

    They can evaluate your teeth and mouth and recommend options to enhance them, safely and effectively.

  2. Improper brushing

    Excessive and aggressive brushing can also contribute to yellow teeth. Overbrushing strips away the enamel and makes the layer beneath it, called the dentin, more prominent.

    The dentin is yellowish and softer. If it becomes more visible, your smile will also appear darker. Brushing right after meals can exacerbate enamel erosion.

    Acids from food make the teeth vulnerable to abrasion. That’s why it helps to wait at least 45 minutes to brush your teeth.

    Not brushing before sleep can also lead to plaque and tartar buildup. Saliva production declines during sleep, giving an advantage to harmful acids attacking the enamel.

  3. Poor oral hygiene

    Poor oral hygiene can dull your smile. Not brushing and flossing leads to the buildup of plaque and tartar on the surfaces of the teeth.

    Plaque is a colourless, sticky film that clings to the teeth. When not removed, it forms tartar that coats the teeth and gums with yellowish, hard deposits.

    Tartar cannot be removed at home. As they accumulate on the tooth surfaces, your smile not only becomes unsightly, but your oral health can become compromised too.

  4. Dietary choices

    The food and beverages you consume are also potential culprits for yellow teeth.

    Foods with heavily pigmented sauces, berries, and vinegar dressings can leave stains on teeth. The same goes for coffee, tea, soda, and fruit juices.

    Maintaining a balanced diet is essential to keeping the body healthy. You don’t have to avoid these choices completely. But it’s important to be aware of their effects on the teeth and to maintain good oral hygiene habits.

    Drinking or rinsing the mouth with plain water after eating keep stains and food debris from settling and causing discolouration.

  5. Medications

    Certain medications, such as antibiotics and antihistamines, can also cause staining.

    If you feel that your prescriptions contribute to tooth discolouration, schedule a consultation with your dentist and primary healthcare provider.

    They can confirm whether the medications have something to do with the changes in your smile. They may also update your prescription, if possible, for your case.

Preventing yellow teeth

The best way to prevent yellow teeth depends on the cause. Here are some ways to minimize staining and keep your smile bright.

  • Quitting smoking. Kicking the habit out of your system is difficult and, often, a long journey. With the support of the right people, you can, little by little, stop smoking and improve the look and function of your teeth.
  • Practicing proper brushing techniques. Brushing 2-3 times a day should be enough if you do it properly. Your dental hygienist or dentist can demonstrate proper brushing techniques, especially if you have specific concerns, such as brushing with braces on.
  • Following a personalized dental care routine. Your dental care routine may need some boosting, so you can see improvements in your smile. You may require specific products or practices if you’re at an increased risk of developing tartar or are diagnosed with a medical condition.
  • Moderating intake of teeth-staining foods and beverages. Watching what you eat and drink can help limit staining on your teeth. You can still enjoy your meals with proactive dental care.
  • Changing prescriptions. Your healthcare provider can let you know if this route is possible.

There’s no such thing as a brilliantly white smile, but it’s possible to lighten the shade of your teeth and slow down discolouration.

At Aqua Dental Wellness, we work with you to achieve the smile you desire. You can maintain a confident smile without spending time and money on several over-the-counter products.

Visit our dental office in Winnipeg, MB. Let’s find out what’s causing your yellow teeth and map a treatment plan to address it.