Yellow teeth aren’t necessarily unhealthy and like everything else, everyone’s smiles naturally come in a myriad of different shades. However, who doesn’t want a dazzling bright, white smile? White teeth can make you look younger, more attractive and will boost your confidence too. So what causes yellow teeth?

1. Smoking

One of the many reasons not to smoke! Tar and nicotine quickly stains your teeth, making them yellow and brown. While you can remove stains with professional hygienist cleans and whitening, results won’t last until you ditch the ciggies.

2. Getting older

Unfortunately, your teeth become more yellow with age, as part of the natural ageing process. This happens as enamel (the strong, white protective coating on the teeth) fades over time because of everyday wear and tear, which reveals the natural colour of dentin.

3. The yellow is in your genes

Blame mum or dad for this one! It’s also possible that you inherited enamel that is more yellow than others.

4. Bad oral hygiene

When you do not routinely brush & floss to remove plaque build-up, it can quickly turn to yellow-coloured tartar and therefore discolour your teeth.

5. Dead tooth

Teeth can ‘die’ as a result of decay or an accident. The blood supply to your tooth is cut off and because of the dying blood cells, discolouring can occur.

6. They are what you eat

Darkly coloured foods and drinks like red wine, coffee and some curries can stain your teeth.

7. Medication

Certain medications and antibiotics can darken the teeth of children younger than 8 years old. Go over any such potential side effects with your doctor.

What can you do about yellow teeth?


Here are some helpful tips to try and minimise the discolouring of your teeth.

  • Quit smoking!
  • Keep up with your oral hygiene – brush and floss!
  • See our hygienists for regular professional cleans
  • Drink dark-coloured beverages through a (non-plastic) straw to avoid direct contact with your teeth.
  • Drink a glass of water after drinking or eating dark-coloured foods and drinks.

Tooth whitening

Whitening your smile has become increasingly popular over the last couple of decades. Provided it is carried out by a dental professional, whitening is safe and a very effective way to a bright, white smile. Normally, whitening achieves great results for our patients, however if you’ve had any restorative dental work, for example crowns, veneers and fillings, these won’t change colour and may need replacing after whitening treatment.

Teeth that are discoloured as a result of an infection also won’t respond to traditional teeth whitening, which only works to whiten the outer enamel. In these cases, internal bleaching would be a better option. This involves whitening the entire tooth from the inside out following root canal treatment.

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