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.

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