Yellow Teeth? What’s the Cause and How To Prevent It

Before we start, I am not a dentist and therefore I have not studied teeth, gums, and details surround your teeth. That all said, I went to medical school and have been practicing medicine for the last 25 years. Over this time you pick up a lot of knowledge surrounding the mouth and teeth. If you’re looking for the detail, this will not be the right place to look, but I can give you my advice on the causes of yellow teeth and more importantly what you can do to stop your teeth going yellow.

What Causes Teeth To Turn Yellow?

Yellow teeth is caused by either caused by stains on your teeth from what you eat and drink or by the health of your teeth deteriorating. Teeth are made of two materials, tooth enamel which is the hard white surface of your teeth and dentin which is the softer pale brown substance that makes up the inner part of the tooth.

Healthy Teeth

Healthy teeth have a solid enamel outer covering that blocks any dentin from showing through meaning that your teeth will naturally look white. If you’re diet consists of a high concentration of acidic foods such as sweets, sugar and sodas, the acid will slowly dissolve away the outer layer of enamel and the pale brown colour will show through causing the yellow colour.

Teeth Stains

Teeth stains are causes by three distinct categories, extrinsic stains, instrinsic stains and wide arrant of medical issues.

Extrinsic Stains – are stains on the surface of the teeth and come from what we eat and drink. Smoking, drinking coffee and drinking red wine are all great examples of dark-coloured foods and drinks that will extrinsically stain your teeth.

Intrinsic Stain – are stains that occur within the tooth with most common example being silver fillings that help to fill wholes in your teeth, but will also turn your teeth a darker colour.

Medical Issues – are stains that occur as a side effect from medications or your genetics. Some people are born with teeth that appear more yellow or white than others, however the medications that we take on a daily basis can also have an effect.

How To Prevent Yellow Teeth?

90% of preventing yellow teeth is to watch what you eat, with the remain 10% being left for keeping your teeth clean and that includes visiting your dentist at least once every six months.

Watching what you eat and drink does not mean that you have completely cut out those dark coloured foods and drinks, but what it does mean is that you need to keep those foods and drinks down to a minimum and focus on brushing your teeth once you have finished eating. If you want to really protect your teeth from coffee for examples, consider drinking coffee through a straw which minimises the time the fluids have contact with your teeth.  Keep you teeth clean stops plaque and tarter build up which appears yellow.

Oh yes and get out the obvious – No smoking.


When it comes to treatments consult your dentist before you try any homemade or “bought off the internet” remedies. The results can be good, however the side effects can also be horrendous. For every patient that has had a successful process to a “bought off the internet” tooth whitening kit, there are hundred of people where the whole process has been a disaster and the side effects have been terrible.

Typically treatments come in two forms, mild bleaching i.e. Using a whitening toothpaste and major bleaching, i.e. Bleaching procedures such as Hydrogen Peroxide combined with Diode lasers.

Why You Should Be Brushing Your Teeth With Baking Soda

Baking Soda (Sodium Bicaronite) has been used in dental hygiene for hundreds of years due to its properties, however over the last half-century it’s fallen out of love with the general public as fluoride based toothpaste has taken over and due it it’s abrasiveness which has been said to damage tooth enamel.


The truth is that actually baking soda is far less abrasive to tooth enamel that your standard tooth past. Generally toothpastes are rated an RDA (Relative Dentin Abrasiveness) scale from 0 – 200 with 0 being the least abrasive and 200 being the most. Pure baking soda has an RDA rating of seven, whilst the RDA for baking soda toothpaste’s starts at 40 and quickly rises.

This makes baking soda a great polishing agent for teeth and by using baking soda you’re easily able to remove plague and stains from your teeth without damaging the enamel surrounding your teeth.

Reasons For Using Baking Soda

Other than baking soda being a very unobtrusive substance to brush your teeth with, there are many other reason you should be using pure baking soda to brush your teeth.

A healthy mouth is a non-acidic or neutral on the pH scale and with many foods that we’re eating and bacterial metabolic acids, your mouth is becoming more and more acidic. Baking soda will help to increase the pH levels and neutralise out the acidic levels within the Oral Cavities. In addition to having a healthy mouth due to low acidic levels, baking soda can also help your calcium intake by your teeth and help strengthen enamel.

One Problem

Baking soda might be an effective germ killer and good for your teeth, but it’s not very good at providing you a minty fresh breath. If this is something that you worry about, I would highly recommend that you look at a decent mouthwash.

How To Brush With Sodium Bicarbonate

Brushing your teeth with baking powder uses the same process as brushing your teeth with toothpaste with the only difference being that you need to get the baking to stick to your toothbrush in order to get it to the right place.

Obviously with baking powder being a powder, you need to take you toothbrush and make it as wet as possible before start. This way the powder will stick to your tooth brush and you will be able to direct it in your mouth.


  1. Pour a small quantity of baking soda onto a dish.
  2. Wet your toothbrush thoroughly.
  3. Dip you toothbrush into the powder and try to get as much power to stick on the brush as possible.
  4. Try to bush individual teeth, rather than rows of teeth as this have been proved to be more effective at cleaning than simply brushing an entire row of teeth.
  5. Wash your mouth thoroughly with water afterwards.

Follow Up

Sodium Carbonate (Baking Soda) has been proven to provide benefits to your teeth and as a result should be something that you factor into your health regime. As always, you don’t have to use sodium carbonate every day to see the effects and maybe its something that you could factor into your week.

Another option could be looking at the many examples of baking soda based toothpaste if you don’t want to rub pure baking soda into your teeth. Check out here for a great baking soda toothpaste option here.