Azarko Dental Group Blog

10 Causes of Yellow Teeth & How to Avoid Them

What causes yellow teeth? If you're unhappy with the smile you see when you look in the mirror, our Edmonton dentists list some potential causes, share how to safely whiten your teeth and more.

What causes yellow teeth?

While yellow teeth aren't as urgent as other dental issues and are not a dental emergency, you may feel a drop in confidence and even find yourself hiding your smile if you've noticed your teeth have become dull or yellowed. 

Fortunately, changing the colour of your teeth may come down to practicing a few new oral care practices and shifting your eating and drinking habits. You may even consider asking your dentist about teeth whitening. 

If you're vexed by yellow teeth and wondering about potential causes, along with what you can do to correct and prevent the problem, our Edmonton dentists have some tips for you.

1. Dentin & Thin Enamel 

Thin enamel can reveal the dentin that lies beneath, the deep yellow to brownish material inside your teeth. This is often the culprit for the yellow tinge you see when you check your teeth in the mirror. While dentin is covered by thick enamel on healthy teeth, it doesn't always block the stains that tend to accumulate on the surface. 

2. Food, Drink & Diet

While our teeth help us chow down on our favourite foods, some brightly or deeply coloured foods and drinks such as tomato-based sauces in spaghetti and pizza, berries and fruit juices, dark cola, sports drinks, soy sauce and even the balsamic vinegar dressing on your healthy salad can dull the colour of your pearly whites. 

3. Smoking 

Along with all of the other health complications and potential disease that a smoking addiction can bring, the nicotine in cigarettes causes brownish or yellowish surface stains on your teeth. Add this to your list of reasons to quit. 

4. Aging & Wear

You may notice your teeth turning more yellow as you age. While enamel thins and wears away as we age, acids in foods and drinks also erode enamel. You may also find that lasting food stains and other factors can cause your teeth to become a grayish shade. 

5. Genetics 

Did you know that if one of your parents had yellow teeth, there's a higher probability that your teeth will likely be yellow as well? Genetics can also influence whether you see different hues, such as reddish brown, reddish gray or reddish yellow. These natural shades can fall anywhere along a spectrum from light to dark. Thicker, whiter enamel also tends to run in some families. 

6. Medications 

In children under age 8 who take certain drugs and antibiotics such as doxycycline and tetracycline, these medications may impact the formation of enamel in their teeth. Mouthwashes and rinses containing cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine.

7. Grinding 

Also referred to as bruxism, grinding is a common issue, especially among people who suffer from stress. Some people unconsciously grind their teeth while sleeping, but this can also occur during waking hours. In doing this, the tooth enamel can become damaged, cracked and yellowed. 

8. Accidents or Trauma 

While playing sports can help kids stay physically fit, injuries, including trauma to the mouth, can put them on the sidelines and negatively impact their oral health. For children under age 8, trauma and injuries can also affect the formation of enamel. 

For adults, an injury may decrease blood flow to the tooth or result in the nerve dying. If the inside of the tooth is damaged, bleeding may occur and require professional intervention. 

9. Fluorosis

Your dentist's toothpaste and treatments contain fluoride to protect teeth and help prevent cavities from forming. However, an excess of fluoride can lead to a formation of spots on the teeth. Aside from toothpaste, the main sources of fluoride include dental treatments prescribed fluoride tablets and fluoridated drinking water. 

10. Poor Dental Hygiene 

Brushing and flossing our teeth clears bacteria and plaque. If teeth aren't brushed, flossed and rinsed enough to remove plaque, stain-producing substances can cause your teeth to yellow. 

How to Prevent & Treat Yellow Teeth

Many people ask us, "What makes teeth yellow?" with the goal of prevention in mind - or with a shocked expression on their face during an appointment.

That said, there's no need to be embarrassed if your teeth have taken on more of a yellow shade than you'd like; we are here to address any questions and concerns you might have.  

Maintaining your pearly whites isn't just about taking steps to form new habits or cover yellow spots; if you'd like to guard against that dull tinge, we recommend taking steps to prevent yellow teeth from darkening your smile, such as brushing and flossing regularly and maintaining your regular schedule of dental exams and cleanings.  You might also consider teeth whitening at our Edmonton dental offices. 

If you'd like to learn more about prevention treatment methods for yellow teeth, please do not hesitate to talk to your dentist. 

Do you have questions about the colour of your teeth and how you can prevent yellowing? Contact our Edmonton dentists

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