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Why Are My Teeth Yellow? Causes, Remedies and More

Why Are My Teeth Yellow? Causes, Remedies and More


As you stand at the mirror each morning, you may ask yourself, “Why are my teeth yellow?” Well, there are several reasons teeth can turn yellow. Sometimes, the cause of yellowing teeth is entirely natural and age-related, while other times, it’s due to what you consume. Out of your control or not, there are ways to prevent your teeth from yellowing and even remedies to reverse the tinge. 

Below, GO SMILE breaks down what might be causing your teeth to yellow, from smoking to proper brushing and more. Plus, we list some teeth whitening remedies to help bring back your beautiful, youthful-looking smile!  

reasons teeth become yellow

Reasons Teeth Become Yellow

Teeth can become yellow for various reasons. Some are totally out of our control. Some are simply bad habits that are completely fixable and even reversible. Either way, work down the list below, asking yourself, “Why are my teeth yellow?” Chances are, you may find one or two culprits to blame. But don’t worry! As you note which might be causing your yellow teeth, keep in mind that many can be improved upon. 

Ready? Let's explore some of the leading causes of yellowing teeth.


Aging can be the root cause of your yellowing teeth. As you age, genetic factors and family history can play a large role in your overall health – and teeth discoloration is but one condition. Aging causes the dentin inside each tooth to overtake, which reduces the translucent effect. In turn, the dentin shows through more, presenting its natural yellow shade. 

Thinning Enamel

Your teeth’s enamel layer is designed to protect. But eventually, like any protective layer, it can wear down. Finally, your enamel layer can even become thin, resulting in exposed yellow dentin. Since dentin is a yellowish-brown material inside our teeth, the worn-down or scraped enamel will reveal its subsurface layer, which is a primary cause for yellow teeth. 

You could say that aging and thinning enamel goes hand in hand. But there might be other reasons your enamel could be wearing down, too, caused by constant chewing, diet and other factors listed below.

people drinking coffee

Dark Foods and Tannins

Dark foods and drinks, such as coffee, red wine and even dark berries and sauces, can be a huge culprit. Containing chemicals called tannins, these dark substances can cause blemishes, caused by a residue that sticks to our teeth’s surface, eventually tarnishing the protective enamel. Soda and other carbonated beverages can also exacerbate enamel erosion and cause teeth discoloration. But if you can’t go a day without coffee or a glass of wine after work, at least take some preventive measures


Smoking is not only toxic for your body, capable of enormous amounts of harm, but it’s terrible for your oral health. Bad breath aside, smoking can cause your teeth to yellow in a very short time. Ultimately, the tar from nicotine can cause plaque and tartar buildup, which can lead to gum disease and even oral cancer. 

While there are many remedies to help whiten teeth, the best path forward is to quit smoking entirely. If you’re a smoker, don’t just quit to reverse yellow teeth and get those pearly whites back. Do it for your overall health! 

man suffering from bruxism


Do you grind your teeth when you’re stressed? Known as bruxism, this habit is something lots of people do, consciously or not. Unfortunately, like other habits, bruxism damages the tooth’s enamel. And, in turn, this can cause the enamel to become brittle, causing yellow teeth. 

Even if you make yourself more aware during tense moments and relax your jaw, there’s something known as sleep bruxism, which is totally out of your control. According to studies, sleep bruxism occurs in 8.6 percent of the general population. So are you part of that percentage? Well, if you often wake up with dull headaches and a sore jaw, there’s a good chance you unknowingly grind your teeth at night. Besides whitening remedies and whitening products to bring your teeth back to a brighter shade, sleep bruxism can easily be solved by wearing a nightguard, reducing your unconscious wear and tear on the tooth’s enamel. 

Diseases and Medications

Certain diseases and medications can also cause yellow teeth. For cancer patients who must undergo chemotherapy and radiation, the chemical reaction that occurs in the body affects the enamel and dentin. Some antibiotic medications such as tetracycline and doxycycline can also cause your teeth to yellow.

Sometimes, even mouthwash contains medicinal properties that harm enamel, causing yellow teeth. For instance, mouthwash containing ingredients such as chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride do more harm than good, eroding enamel and causing discoloration. 

What Your Teeth's Color Says About You

Did you know there are different types of stains? Whether you have intrinsic or extrinsic stains, your teeth’s color can say a lot about you. Things like genetics, diet, health and simply age all play a factor in the color of your teeth and even your overall oral health. So just what does the color of your teeth say about you? Let’s take a look.

white teeth

White Teeth

Teeth are pure white when you’re young. Babies’ teeth, to be exact. But it’s not just due to sucking down milk bottles or having a coffee-free and soda-free diet. Instead, and unlike our permanent teeth that eventually grow in, primary teeth are more calcified. Not to mention that the dentin in babies’ teeth is a pale yellow color, practically invisible through the tooth’s translucent white enamel. Overall, white teeth indicate that you’re young, healthy and generally take excellent care of your oral hygiene and chompers especially.

Light Gray/Yellow Teeth

Once you lose your baby teeth and the permanent teeth grow in, this is where your teeth can reveal a lot. You’ll see your smile doesn’t appear as bright white and you may notice them yellowing even as a teenager. For starters, your permanent adult teeth are darker due to their structure, which cannot be helped. Unlike your baby teeth, the dentin inside takes up more space, which means it essentially magnifies and shows more stains. Plus, the dentin will actually darken more with age, making them more visible through the enamel. Ultimately, this completely natural aging process is but one factor contributing to your teeth appearing light yellow or gray.

Yellow Teeth

While light gray or light yellow teeth are perfectly normal as you age, caused by darkening dentin below the tooth’s surface, straight-up yellow teeth are a different story. Driven by what you drink and eat, yellow teeth tell the tale of a heavy coffee or tea drinker, or someone who drinks red wine, each of which contains dark, pigmented substances that can alter the enamel and color of your teeth. 

Furthermore, the accumulation of plaque buildup leaves teeth dirty. Without proper cleaning and dentist visits, plaque can create larger problems such as heart-related conditions and a decreased immune system. From a cosmetic perspective, it can permanently stain your teeth.

Brown Teeth

To be blunt, if you have brown teeth, it’s likely due to improper oral care. Brown teeth or even brown spots are the results of the stains of yellow teeth being ignored, worsening over time. Brown spots, specifically, may be a sign of tooth decay. 

However, there are other reasons brown teeth can occur. Your age, an injury, long-term medication and even genetics, which you have little control over, can cause your teeth to darken. Still, smoking and chewing tobacco are two major culprits that you do have control over. While you may not be able to reverse the health effects entirely, ceasing nicotine habits can help.

woman brushing her teeth

Teeth Whitening Remedies

Despite what your teeth might reveal about your lifestyle or eating habits, or however you got yellow teeth to begin with, don’t fret! GO SMILE is here to teach you some new teeth whitening remedies. Plus, we offer ways to keep those pearly whites as clean as possible.

Let’s explore some of the many teeth whitening methods, from teeth whitening kits to natural whitening methods and regular cleanings.

Regular Brushing and Flossing

One of the easiest ways to get a brighter smile is by simply improving your oral hygiene habits, brushing and flossing regularly. As recommended by the American Dental Association, you should be brushing at least twice a day for two minutes to maintain a healthy smile. However, if you aim to reduce or remove a yellow hue, we recommend putting in the extra effort with a third brushing after lunchtime. 

While flossing is hard to remember, it’s still just as important! Flossing can help remove food particles and plaque from hard-to-reach corners between teeth, helping keep your enamel from further erosion. If you can’t floss or brush after a meal, at least rinse your mouth with water and pop in some sugar-free gum to get the protective saliva flowing.


Routine Dental Checkups

Make sure to schedule routine dental checkups. While brushing and flossing is a significant first step toward improving your smile and brightening yellow teeth, a professional dentist can do a much more thorough cleaning. Plus, they can inspect your gums and mouth for other issues, catching them before they turn worse. 

The ADA recommends paying a visit to your dentist every six months, so make sure to set a reminder and schedule it in advance. 

Up Your Calcium Intake

Calcium helps to strengthen bones as well as our teeth. It not only prevents erosion, but strengthens the enamel and even the gum lining. Milk and dairy products like yogurt and veggies like broccoli all contain nutritious enamel-boosting calcium. So be sure to increase this one vitamin intake for a healthier smile.

Natural Remedies

There are many DIY natural teeth whitening methods, but some are more effective than others. A baking soda and natural peroxide solution has natural whitening properties and is relatively safe and not far off from toothpaste. However, there are also more unique methods, such as oil pulling and eating high-fiber, crunchy fruit and veggies like apples, broccoli and celery that rub off plaque as you chew and help produce saliva. The expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” wasn't written for nothing. Instead of reaching for sweet candy treats, grab a hard fruit or veggie instead. 

At-Home Teeth Whitening Products

At-Home Teeth Whitening Products

While all of the above teeth whitening remedies will help you get a healthy mouth and get your smile whiter, it does take time. But if you are desperate to get rid of those yellow teeth so you can gain confidence and look good in upcoming photos, then at-home teeth whitening products are your best option. 

Here are a few teeth whitening products to help you along:  

Teeth Whitening Gel

Teeth whitening gel, whether used on a silicone tray or blue light sonic toothbrush, works wonders for lightening yellow teeth. The peroxide gel solution, such as GO SMILE’s Hyperox™ Technology, can offer a noticeable shade difference in as little as seven days and can keep them white for a few months.

Teeth Whitening Pen

Teeth whitening pens are compact, making them perfect for carrying in a purse or coat pocket. Not just an at-home product, GO SMILE teeth whitening pens softly brush the tooth with a serum that leaves your mouth feeling minty fresh. Plus, it doesn’t just help yellow teeth, it prevents new stains from setting. 

Stain Erasers

Stain erasers offer another on-the-go brightening method for your smile. Like teeth whitening pens, you can carry them anywhere! Simply flip open the applicator and squeeze to break the inner chamber. Once the tip shows the whitening formula, apply it to your teeth in a circular motion and wait 20 minutes before eating or drinking. It’s that easy! Check out our new stain eraser tins!

Teeth Whitening Kit

For the ultimate teeth whitening journey, try a GO SMILE teeth whitening kit. Our kits come with everything you need to get your chompers back on track to a pearly white smile in as little as seven days. The kit even includes a whitening toothbrush to make your chompers sparkle, complete with a bacteria-killing blue light technology that leaves your mouth super clean, minimizing plaque build-up and more. Paired with teeth whitening gel or foaming toothpaste, it can help you achieve a brighter grin even faster.


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