Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?

Blonde woman wearing a black blouse covers her mouth due to embarrassment about her yellow teeth

There are a number of things that can turn your teeth yellow, some of which are out of your control and some of which you can prevent. Here, we’ll discuss the reasons why your teeth turn yellow and how you can best avoid discoloration.

  1. Certain Foods & Drinks
  2. There are a wide variety of foods and drinks that can stain your teeth. From pasta sauce to curry, balsamic vinegar to berries, these foods all have pigments that cling to and stain your tooth enamel. Beverages like coffee, tea, sodas, red wine, white wine, and even sports drinks can also turn your teeth yellow. To avoid staining, try to limit these foods and drinks. And when you do expose them to your teeth, concurrently drink water to help wash away any staining elements.

  3. Tobacco Products
  4. Tobacco (e.g. cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco) leaves yellow and brown stains on the surface of your teeth, whether you smoke or chew it. And because nicotine is addictive, it makes you smoke or chew more and more, causing your teeth to become yellower and yellower. And not only is tobacco hard on your teeth, but it is terrible for your oral health and your overall health!

  5. Poor Dental Hygiene
  6. If you don’t brush and floss every day, staining particles are left to coat your teeth. But even worse, poor dental hygiene will lead to the buildup of plaque and tartar, which cause discoloration and serious oral health issues like bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.

  7. Damaged Enamel
  8. Enamel is the hard translucent outer shell of your tooth that protects the more vulnerable inner layers of your teeth. When enamel is damaged, the middle tooth layer shows through. This layer, called the dentin, is brownish and deep yellow in color, which gives your teeth a more yellowish appearance. Your enamel can be damaged via things like a diet low in tooth-strengthening nutrients, a diet high in sugar, poor dental hygiene, teeth grinding, and mouth trauma.

  9. Genes
  10. It may seem unfair, but some people are just born with naturally yellow teeth. This happens when a person inherits enamel that is thin or very translucent, allowing the underlying yellow dentin to show through, or their enamel inherently has a more gray, brown, or red tint than white.

How to Prevent Yellow Teeth

As you get older, your enamel wears away from a lifetime of chewing and consuming acidic foods and drinks, revealing the yellowish dentin beneath. But fortunately, there are many things you can do to keep your teeth healthy and strong:

  • Gently brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled manual or electric toothbrush
  • Floss between your teeth at least once a day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat a healthy diet high in nutritious whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Limit your consumption of foods and beverages that are sugary and/or acidic
  • Quit smoking ASAP
  • Wear a mouthguard if you grind your teeth during sleep so you don’t grind away your enamel

Achieve a Healthier Smile at Our Florence Dental Office

Another important part of maintaining a white smile is to visit Embrace Dental Care for regular checkups and cleanings. Moreover, if you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile, we can help you determine whether you’d benefit from one of our cosmetic dentistry services, such as veneers, Lumineers®, or professional teeth whitening. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!


Your Smile!

8544 US Highway 42, Suite 500, Florence, KY 41042
(859) 371-4000

Practice Hours
Mon - Tue: 8AM - 5PM
Weds - Thurs: 10AM - 7PM
Friday: 10AM - 5PM
4122 Shelbyville Rd Suite 103,
Louisville, KY 40207
(502) 890-7760

Practice Hours
Mon - Tue: 8AM - 5PM
Weds - Thurs: 10AM - 7PM
Friday: 10AM - 5PM