Why Are My Teeth Yellow?

We all would love a pearly white smile!
But why is it that our teeth can turn yellow, particularly as we age?

There are two main reasons why our teeth gradually darken from white to yellow.

1) Certain types of food and drinks can stain the teeth…

This is usually an external or an extrinsic stain and can be removed by having your teeth professionally cleaned by the dentist.

Examples of substances that can stain the teeth include:
Tea, especially black tea and herbal teas, coffee (but less so than tea.) red wine, nicotine from smoking, sugary sweets, brightly coloured gravies & curries, dark fruits & vegetables such as berries and beetroots.

2) Wearing away of the outer layer of the tooth (known as the enamel) due to acids in certain foods and drinks.

The tooth is naturally white when the enamel is at its thickest. As the enamel starts to wear, the second layer of the tooth known as dentine)starts to show through. Dentine is comparatively more yellow than the enamel so the tooth can start to look more yellow. This is one of the reasons why elderly people have yellow teeth.

Examples of substances that can wear away the outer layer of the tooth include:
Soft drinks & aerated drinks, sports drinks, wines, salad dressings,lemons, vinegar & sour fruits.
Over-brushing can also wear the teeth down, due to the abrasive property of toothpaste, and also medium or hard toothbrush bristles.

What steps can I take to avoid my teeth from turning yellow?

  • Avoid brushing immediately after eating the above-mentioned foods & liquids, as the enamel maybe soft after consuming these things, and brushing may cause more wear.
  • Have a big sip of water and swirl it in your mouth to wash away the acids and the staining compounds from foods.
  • Make sure you do not scrub the teeth too hard! Always use a soft toothbrush, and a gentle toothpaste.
  • Avoid abrasive toothpastes.

If your teeth have already turned yellow, contact your dentist for teeth whitening procedures.

« previous: Protect Your Teeth From Stains

next: 7 Common Dental Myths -Tooth or Fiction? »

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