Yellow Teeth – Reasons, Preventions, Solutions

Excerpt: Discoloration and stains can be prevented through proper oral care...
Table of Contents

Summary

Discoloration and stains can be prevented through proper oral care. However, it can also be brought on by genetics, medication, and other underlying issues.

Teeth can be stained for a number of reasons, the stains can either be from food, beverages, underlying medical conditions, bacterial infection, and more.

Extrinsic Discoloration

1. Extrinsic (external) discoloration – This occurs from outside sources generally, your lifestyle will have the biggest impact on extrinsic discoloration, a few common sources include:

 

  • Smoking (Including marijuana)
  • Tobacco products
  • Wine
  • Dyed food
  • Sugary food
 
2. Extrinsic discoloration is usually superficial. Superficial (surface stains) can be treated with whitening toothpaste and other OTC products. DIY procedures can potentially reverse the discoloration as well.

Intrinsic Discoloration

1. Intrinsic discoloration (internal) – This discoloration is significantly more challenging to get rid of. It typically occurs because of these reasons:


  • Medication Use
  • Illness
  • Infection
  • Trauma
  • Aging
 
2. This form of discoloration will most likely have to be reversed with professional treatments. 

How To Prevent Yellow Teeth

The best way to prevent teeth from changing color is to have consistent oral care. If you have consistent oral care, you will minimize the amount of time sugar will stay in your mouth. Starchy foods like bread are notorious for getting stuck between your teeth. Since these foods are also high in carbohydrates (sugar), the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth will eat these foods and produce plaque, a colorless sticky film, which will eventually turn into tartar.


Some foods that you will want to avoid are:


  • Soda, energy drinks, sports drinks
  • Red wine
  • Coffee and tea
  • Dark sauces
  • Certain fruits
 

Many of these foods are rich in tannins. Tannins are bad for tooth stains because they are prone to sticking to the enamel on the teeth. Tannins also attract bacteria and carbohydrates which are all responsible to some degree for tooth discoloration. These foods also have strong pigmentation which can directly affect teeth and over time it may affect their color. If you do eat these foods regularly it is advisable to brush your teeth afterward as soon as you are able. Just eating these foods typically isn’t a problem, the issue often occurs as a result of overconsumption combined with poor oral care.

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Tips to prevent yellow stains on teeth

Drink Colored Beverages Through A Straw

Certain beverages like alcohol and juice, etc. can affect your teeth negatively, drinking these through a straw can reduce their impact on your teeth because it will minimize their contact with your teeth. Recently it has become quite trendy to have reusable straws made from metal, so using metal straws will not only save your teeth, but they can benefit the environment as well.

Carry A Portable Oral Care Kit

It might seem like overkill, but this strategy can be incredibly effective at preventing stains on your teeth. You can buy travel-sized toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss at pharmacies and grocery stores. If you plan on going out for dinner or for a celebration, you can quickly clean your teeth after the meal. This will also help to prevent bad breath (halitosis), and it will save you the embarrassment of having something stuck in your teeth.

Avoid Nicotine

Nicotine is actually a colorless compound, but when it interacts with oxygen it can turn yellow. Tobacco also has a strong brown color which can lead to staining. Both smokeless and non-smokeless products are bad for your teeth and your health. If you are trying to quit, vaping can be an alternative to traditional tobacco products, however, vaping still contains nicotine, so it will have a negative effect on your teeth.

Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol has a number of issues that are negative for teeth. The pigmentation in wines and other drinks can cause immediate staining on your teeth. Alcohol also has tannins and sugars in it. To make matters worse, if we are drinking, we are usually eating unhealthy foods that are commonly found in bars and pubs. These foods are almost always high in carbohydrates. Cutting back on these types of activities will also benefit your overall health as well as your oral health.

Eat Healthy Snacks

If you do feel hungry throughout the day, eating foods like vegetables can have a number of benefits. They are good for your teeth since they will encourage the production of saliva. Saliva will help to keep your mouth clean, and the vegetables will also provide you with the vitamins and minerals that we all need.

Use Whitening Products

Whitening toothpaste has added abrasive material to help get rid of external stains on the teeth. This will not help get rid of all stains, however, it will help get rid of the more easily preventable stains. You can also use whitening mouthwash, these products are also optimized to get rid of external stains on your teeth.

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Genetics Can Cause Yellow Stains On Teeth

There are some things that we cannot prevent, regardless of how meticulous we are with our health or lifestyle choices. Genetic conditions are one of these things we cannot prevent, there are multiple genetic conditions that can affect the health and color of your teeth:
 
  • Dentinogenesis imperfecta – Can cause grayish, transparent tooth enamel, and can also make the teeth weak and brittle.
  • Amelogenesis imperfecta – This condition can cause a yellow-brown color on the teeth, as well as a soft fragile enamel.

Other Common Discoloration Factors

Some other reasons for discoloration can include medical, or underlying conditions:


  • Antibiotics taken while children’s teeth are still developing
  • Prescription-strength mouthwash to treat gingivitis
  • Some acne medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Albuterol
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Age

You should check with your doctor or dentist to see if any of the medications you are on can cause your teeth to turn yellow.

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