Are Yellow Teeth Healthy? What Causes Yellow Teeth

A 2016 survey shows that yellow or crooked teeth would put two in three of us off a possible second date.

At some point, we’ve all noticed that our teeth aren’t as white as we’d want them to be. Despite regular flossing and brushing, we sometimes are greeted with a full set of yellow teeth, which can be quite frustrating.

Thankfully, there are several lifestyle changes you could make to deal with this issue, and it usually isn’t a sign of anything serious.

In this piece, we’re going to look at two of the common myths related to teeth and the leading reasons why teeth start to turn yellow too early.

Myths Surrounding the Condition of Our Teeth

Many ideas we have about white and yellow teeth are factually incorrect. If you’ve believed the following myths, think again.

Teeth are Bright White by Nature

Translucent enamel exposes yellow dentin. Only a few lucky individuals are blessed with gleaming white teeth, with most people’s teeth being naturally one or two shades darker. Natural teeth are normally tinged with grey or yellow.

Basically, it’s the thickness and shade of your enamel which impact the color of your teeth. Don’t worry if you brush daily and your teeth still remain yellow. It could just be that they’re that shade naturally.

Non-White or Yellow Teeth are Unhealthy

This myth is peddled by firms which want us to spend a fortune on getting a perfect “movie star” smile.

Although heavy staining and yellow plaque deposits aren’t healthy, it’s very possible for yellowish teeth to be absolutely clean and healthy. Teeth whitening treatments usually work by stripping or entering the outer enamel layer, which makes teeth weaker if done many times.

So, more often than not, yellow teeth are actually stronger than pearly white ones–so long as they’re cleaned regularly.

So Why are My Teeth So Yellow?

Now that we’ve debunked a couple of common myths on teeth, let’s dive into the reasons why your teeth may turn yellow.

Your Diet

It’s shouldn’t shock you that much that what you eat can affect your teeth’s color. If your teeth have become yellow, it could be due to foods like these:

  • Coffee and tea
  • Tomato sauces
  • Red wine
  • Curries
  • Soy sauce
  • Berries
  • Beetroot
  • Balsamic vinegar

Other foods and beverages don’t bring about stains themselves but have acids that chip away at the tooth enamel. This makes your teeth less white and also makes them more prone to staining. Look out for:

  • Citrus juices and fruits
  • Fizzy drinks (those with rich colors may also cause stains)
  • Sugary foods
  • Sports drinks
  • White wine and other alcohol drinks
  • Artificial sweeteners

To minimize acid damage after consuming these things, it’s best to rinse your mouth with water.


Smokers are highly likely to have yellower teeth.

Smoking makes teeth yellow due to the nicotine, tar and other chemical substances contained in the puff. These get into the pores of the tooth enamel, ruining its natural color.

A 2005 study showed that 28 percent of smokers had severe to moderate tooth discoloration, compared to 15 percent of non-smokers. In addition, the study showed that smokers generally weren’t happy with the condition of their teeth.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Too little brushing, rinsing and flossing to get rid of plaque and stain-causing substances like tobacco and coffee can result in tooth discoloration.

Grinding Your Teeth

It’s something a lot of people do unconsciously, especially when they’re under stress and even while sleeping.

Also called bruxism, grinding can make your tooth enamel weaker, often making it crack and become yellow.

Getting Older

Aging is a natural, irreversible process and it can cause your teeth to turn yellow.

Enamel thins as you get older, and is worn out from exposure to acids in drink and food and chewing.

Medication or Illness

Some antibiotics like amoxicillin and tetracycline can affect tooth color, especially in younger kids. High blood pressure and allergy drugs for adults may also cause this problem. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re worried about this.

Certain illnesses, especially those of the liver can cause tooth discoloration. Patients undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy for cancer can also notice their teeth becoming brownish.


If you’ve always had yellow teeth, your parents could be to blame. Variations in genetics can affect enamel porosity and tooth color–and the more porous your enamel is, the more it’s susceptible to stain.

Excessive Fluoride

While fluoride is beneficial for your teeth, excessive amounts can cause yellow spots (fluorosis) or yellow teeth.

You can take in excess fluoride from fluoride toothpaste, fluoridated water, or fluoride tablets.


When the enamel thins and the dentin below shows through it, teeth look yellow.

Dentin is a brownish or deep yellow material in the teeth under your enamel, and it’s usually behind the yellow you notice while looking in the mirror.

Dentin is covered up by thick enamel, but it’s important to remember that enamel always doesn’t keep out the stains that accumulate on the surface. This causes teeth to turn yellow.


If your teeth or mouth suffer a physical blow, this can crack the enamel and damage the inside of the tooth.

This can result in discoloration. However, if your teeth are bleeding too, you need professional attention.

Treat Your Yellow Teeth Today

While the idea that yellow teeth are unhealthy is a myth, having brighter teeth can still be a big self-esteem booster.

Your dentist can provide treatments to make your teeth whiter and give you advice on how to prevent them from yellowing again.

Whitening treatments are totally safe when they’re done by a reputable cosmetic dentist and most people can benefit from them.

Stop covering your smile and arrange an appointment with us to correct the discoloration of your teeth.