The 5 Main Causes Of Yellow Teeth & How to Deal With Them

causes of yellow teeth

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” said the legendary American actor and radio personality, Bill Rogers. First impressions are absolutely critical in today’s fast-paced modern society, where the luxury of time is rarely affordable. The one factor that influences first impressions more than anything else is one’s physical appearance! A neat, open and well-groomed appearance is simply the best way to make an instant positive impact on the people you interact with on a daily basis!

A person’s smile says a lot about them and there’s no doubt that stained and discolored teeth take a lot away from your smile. More importantly, teeth that lack their natural shine are a sign of poor oral health, which is a critical aspect of your overall health and well-being. 

Today, we explore the five most damaging habits that result in yellow, stained teeth and put their long-term effectiveness in jeopardy. After all, permanent teeth serve us for the entirety of our lives and must be properly taken care of!

Irregular Brushing Habits

The most common reason for discoloration of teeth is poor brushing habits. Dentists strongly recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time, although we suggest that brushing your teeth after every meal is the best way to go about it. 

Brushing your teeth is the most basic yet effective oral hygiene habit and is one that everyone must incorporate into their daily routine, as it is the primary method for cleaning teeth.

Irregular brushing habits lead to gradual discoloration and staining as they lead to formation of plaque on the teeth surface. Plaque is a pale yellow film, formed by the combination of saliva, fluids and food particles, which settles on and between the teeth. It contains a large amount of bacteria and results in teeth losing their natural pearly glow.


Smoking is a very popular habit around the world and usually involves pipes, cigarettes, hookahs and cigars. Like poor brushing habits, smoking poses numerous health problems. However, when it comes to teeth, smoking is one of the faster ways which causes them to lose their white shine. 

The problems related to smoking stem from the use of tobacco and nicotine, as well as the host of other chemical substances in cigarettes. The stains caused by regular smoking can vary between yellow and dark brown and affect the lips along with the teeth. Chewing tobacco and betel nuts also causes noticeable staining of teeth, gums and lips.

Smoking is the primary cause of intrinsic stains, which are deep marks that go beyond the surface of the teeth. Intrinsic stains are the most difficult to remove and require extended periods of consistent treatment. 

Certain Types Of Medication

Antibiotic medicines containing the compound tetracycline can cause yellowing and discoloration of teeth. The medicines are used for a broad variety of purposes such as treating acne. Children and pregnant women are especially susceptible to dental effects. 

Antihistamines, which are used to treat allergies and hayfever, can result in sharp yellowing too. Antihypertensive medication, used to treat blood pressure, also indirectly causes staining, as it makes the mouth go dry. A lack of saliva in the mouth cavity leaves you at risk of bad breath, discoloration, faster tooth damage and cavities.

Teeth Grinding

Bruxism or teeth grinding, as it is more commonly known, is a dental and sleep disorder where patients inadvertently grind their teeth in their sleep. These causes wear and tear to the teeth over time. 

If left untreated, bruxism can result in discolored teeth as the outermost enamel layer is worn away. Enamel is white in color and its absence leaves teeth looking pale yellow or even brown and at increased risk of damage by bacteria and germs. 


One of the more unexpected causes is your diet! This is one of the slowest causes although its effects are accelerated if you do not practice proper dental care habits and drink enough water. 

Sauces, dark curries, tea and coffee are some of the main culprits. These food items contain a substance called tannin, which has strong staining properties. Bright spices can result in yellowing as well. Watch out for sticky food, as the residue can cling to the surface of teeth.

Soda, fizzy drinks and aerated fluids can contribute to discoloration, thanks to their corrosive properties, which damages the outer surface of your teeth.

How To Remove Stains & Prevent Yellowing Of Teeth?

Simply put, it’s a gradual process that requires you to develop proper dental care habits and give your teeth the required care and attention on an everyday basis. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, using fluoride mouthwash and drinking plenty of water is the best line of defense!

The most convenient treatment method is teeth whitening products. These modern dental care tools harness the goodness of natural extracts and help your teeth revert back to their natural, clean and shiny appearance. These products are usually teeth whitening strips and gels but are meant for short-term use. Excessive use of these products does not reverse the damage accumulated over years. 

Finally, make sure that you visit your dentist regularly (at least once in 4-6 months). Dentists can implement deep cleaning which is much more effective and is difficult to carry out at home! Practice good oral hygiene habits and you will have nothing to worry about!

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