You hear a joke that makes you laugh. You get a compliment from a stranger. Maybe you run into a friend on the street. Either way, there’s always something in our everyday lives that can make us smile.
Many people have a concern, though, about their smile, and you may too: yellow teeth. Even though you brush carefully every day and try to take care of your teeth, they’re still not looking like the pearly white teeth in those toothpaste commercials. So why are your teeth still yellow, even if you brush them every day?
The simplest answer is that most people’s teeth are naturally off-white or yellow; very few people have naturally white teeth. But in cases of a darker yellow colour on your teeth, it’s likely caused by staining agents commonly found in many different foods, drinks, and other substances.
Coffee, wine, soft drinks, berries, and even certain medications—all of these can contribute to the yellowing of the teeth.
What Makes Teeth Yellow?
One of the most common misconceptions about teeth is that brushing them makes them whiter, but this isn’t the case. Brushing isn’t about the colour; it’s about the overall health of your teeth and making sure they’re clean. Teeth can be perfectly healthy and clean but still be a yellow or off-white colour.
There are many different factors that can contribute to the yellowing of your teeth. But most of them tend to be associated with diet, lifestyle, and oral hygiene.
How Diet Affects Teeth Colour
Your diet can directly contribute to the discolouration of your teeth. For example, if you often drink coffee, tea, red wine, or soft drinks, they can cause your teeth to be darker in colour. Red wine, coffee, and tea all include a chemical compound called tannins that tend to stain your teeth.
Even though fruits and berries can be an excellent way to start your day, they’re also known to stain teeth. If your diet is heavy in these, it could be leading to discoloration. The same goes for many different dark sauces and drinks.
Other common foods or drinks that can discolour teeth include:
- Soy sauce
- Dark vinegars
- Tomato-based sauces
- Fruit juices
- Energy drinks
Avoiding these foods and drinks won’t stop any discolouration overnight, but reducing how often you consume them may help with surface staining.
How Lifestyle Affects Teeth Colour
There are many things you may indulge in that could be contributing to yellow teeth.
For example, if you’re a heavy smoker, this could be causing your concerns—tobacco, tar, and nicotine all stain the teeth. The longer you smoke, the more severe this discolouration becomes, and brushing every day won’t stop that.
Certain medications or medical treatments can also cause your teeth to become more yellow. If you’ve recently switched to a new medication or begun a new treatment and have noticed your teeth have changed colour since, consider speaking with your doctor to see if this could be the cause.
Are Yellow Teeth Still Healthy?
Yellow teeth can be just as healthy as perfectly white teeth. The concern shouldn’t be about the colour itself but the overall health of your teeth. If they’re yellow but clean and well-taken care of, then you’re doing well!
The best way to make sure your teeth are healthy is to practice good oral hygiene. By brushing at least twice a day, flossing often, and using mouthwash, you’re taking proper care of your oral health. It’s also a good idea to avoid sugary drinks or foods before bed, as this can lead to plaque buildup and tooth decay. And don’t forget to stay on top of regular visits to your dentist!
We’re Here to Help
If you’re worried about yellow teeth, there are teeth whitening options available at most dentists. When your teeth have a buildup of plaque or surface staining, it’s worth booking an appointment with your dentist to make sure they’re healthy.