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Why are my teeth yellow? How to avoid stained teeth

Updated: May 13

As we smile, our teeth are one of the first things people notice – often without realising this is the case. This is why many are concerned about the appearance of their teeth, and rightly so. If your teeth begin to appear less of pearly white and more of a dull yellow, they can also start to look less healthy.

If you're wondering why your teeth have taken on a yellowish tint and how you can restore them to their former glory, you’re in the right place. There are various reasons why teeth can change colour, and fortunately, there are just as many ways to prevent and treat this. Read on for our guide to why teeth yellow in the first place, and what you can do about it!


Why do Teeth Turn Yellow?

The discolouration of teeth does occur due to several factors, some of which aren’t entirely in our control. These include issues such as plaque and tartar build-up, natural aging, and genetics. Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth, and this can lead to tartar if not removed regularly. Tartar is a hardened form of plaque that is more difficult to remove and can cause a yellowish or brownish discolouration. This often builds up in the small spaces in-between teeth, but can quickly contribute to a darker overall appearance of our smiles.

Additionally, as we age, the outer layer of enamel on our teeth wears down, revealing the naturally yellower dentin layer that sits underneath. Genetic factors also play a role in the natural colour of our dentin, which varies from person to person. While some yellowing is inevitable due to these natural processes, there are many effective ways to manage and reduce discolouration. Below, we’ll discuss a few of the most achievable tips.


Avoiding Yellow Teeth

Ensuring your smile stays bright, white and looking healthy isn't just about dealing with discolouration after it happens; it's about prevention. Here are some of the most beneficial and proactive steps you can take to keep your teeth looking their best:


Avoid the wrong kinds of food

Our diets play a crucial role in determining the colour of your teeth and how quickly they stain. Drinks like coffee, tea, and red wine are notorious for staining teeth as they contain tannins – those bitter chemical compounds that can easily bind to proteins and lead to a yellowing hue.

Coffee and red wine aren’t the only concern, however. Highly pigmented foods such as berries and beetroot can also leave their mark. While you don’t have to cut these out of your diet entirely, it definitely helps to consume them in moderation. You can also take extra precautions by rinsing your mouth with water after consuming staining foods or drinks, which can help minimise their effects on your teeth by washing away any residue quickly.

Stop smoking

Smoking is one of the worst offenders when it comes to yellowing teeth. Tobacco not only stains teeth but also contributes to gum disease and other serious oral health issues. Quitting smoking can significantly improve the health and appearance of your teeth and gums.

Floss and brush properly

Although thankfully a majority of people do brush their teeth, it’s important to recognise not everyone does it correctly. To effectively prevent yellowing, you need to brush at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. While it is effective at working to enhance and strengthen enamel, fluoride is not actually a whitening agent – so don’t rely on that alone to brighten up your smile.

When brushing and flossing, you should also ensure you pay careful attention to all areas of the mouth. It’s easy to rush and forget to brush certain hard-to-reach (or see) areas, but this can have a detrimental impact to the health of surrounding areas, teeth and gums. Consider using a whitening toothbrush or toothpaste to help remove surface stains more effectively.

On top of all this, flossing daily does help to remove plaque between teeth – especially where a toothbrush might not reach. This further reduces the risk of tartar build-up, which can easily yellow.

Get regular dental check-ups

Regular visits to your dentist are essential for maintaining oral health and catching potential problems early. During these check-ups, your dentist can provide professional cleaning to remove the gradual build-up of plaque and tartar that you might miss during regular brushing and flossing. Some plaque is often inevitable, and it’s these regular scale and polish appointments that can help many of our patients maintain their brighter smiles for longer.

Keeping on top of a strict professional cleaning routine will also help with the overall health of your teeth and gums, as excess plaque can lead to issues like gum disease – which can stain anyway.

Discuss with your dentist

Additionally, discussing your concerns about tooth discolouration with your dentist can provide you with personalised advice and treatment options. If you're looking for a more immediate solution to yellow teeth, consider professional teeth whitening. This should always be done under the guidance of your dentist to ensure it's suitable for your teeth and performed safely. Teeth whitening can provide a significant boost to the brightness of your smile, enhancing your overall appearance and confidence.


Professional Teeth Whitening by Kamran Rasul

Although it’s clear that plenty of natural factors and certain lifestyle choices can all contribute to yellow teeth, there are numerous steps you can take to help prevent and treat discolouration. From adjusting your diet to consulting with your dentist about professional whitening options, many of us do have the power to improve the health and appearance of our smiles.

If you’re interested in looking at teeth whitening options with a reputable dental surgery, our team at Kamran Rasul can help. Based in Liverpool, we specialise in cosmetic dentistry – so our team are experienced in a variety of treatments related to enhancing the appearance (and overall health!) of your teeth. Get in touch with our reception team today on 0151 433 9634 for more information.



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