Before and after photograph of a woman, with her teeth yellow (before) on the left and white (after) on the right.

Why Are My Teeth So Yellow? Causes And Treatments

Published 29/09/2021

Last Reviewed 08/05/2024

Yellow teeth may not be a sign of a serious dental health problem, but they can certainly affect your wellbeing and make you self-conscious about your smile. This may explain why, on average, over 30 million Americans turn to teeth whitening products per year.

If you’ve ever found yourself inspecting your teeth in the mirror and wondering why they seem to be so yellow, then the information in this post will be useful to you. We’ve consulted dentists and dental hygiene experts to explain the following:

  • Are teeth naturally yellow, or are yellow teeth bad?
  • What causes yellow teeth?
  • Why are my teeth yellow when I brush them everyday?
  • Tips on how to fix yellow teeth

Read on to learn more.

Are Teeth Naturally Yellow, Or Are Yellow Teeth Bad?

There can be some confusion on this front, so let’s clear matters up. Teeth naturally have a white-yellow hue.

As you can see in the diagram below, enamel is the white outer protective layer of your teeth. However, enamel can be thin or even translucent for some people. When this happens, the yellow dentin layer under the enamel becomes more visible.1 So, yes, it’s perfectly natural for your teeth to be yellow in color.

A cross-section diagram of a tooth that shows enamel is the white outer protective layer, and directly below it is a yellow layer of dentin. Image credit Bruce Blaus.
In most cases, yellow teeth aren't an indication of a serious dental issue. However, if your teeth appear stained or yellower than usual, then this could be a sign of poor oral health or other factors explored below.

What Causes Yellow Teeth?

The scientific community tends to group the causes of yellow teeth under two labels:

  • Extrinsic stains
  • Intrinsic stains

Extrinsic stains are caused by external or environmental factors, while intrinsic are internal and occur inside your teeth under the surface of your enamel.2 Now that we know this, let’s go through the common causes of tooth discoloration.


Some food and drinks cause extrinsic stains. Examples include:

  • Black coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Soda and carbonated drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Candy

Black coffee and red wine contain chemicals called tannins which can stain teeth when consumed regularly. The chemicals seep into the enamel to cause long-term discoloration. Additionally, foods or drinks high in sugar or acid may break down the enamel to reveal the yellow dentin layer beneath.3 


Today, most people are aware that smoking causes a number of health conditions, including discolored teeth. The smoke quickly stains your teeth and can cause permanent damage if you are a long-term smoker.4

Chewing tobacco has the same effect. Yellowish or brownish teeth, accompanied by a bad odor and damaged teeth, are common problems that heavy smokers have to face. The most effective way to counter this is to stop smoking and inquire about a teeth whitening procedure.

Too Much Fluoride

The consumption of excessive fluoride, either naturally occurring in water or from products, can cause fluorosis or the formation of yellow or brown intrinsic stains.5 This is one reason why people nowadays are turning towards natural toothpastes that are fluoride free.

That being said, fluoride is scientifically proven to help strengthen tooth enamel, which is why it’s important to speak with your dentist to ensure you’re receiving the right amount of fluoride to keep your teeth healthy.6


Unfortunately, certain medications such as those prescribed for high blood pressure can cause your teeth to turn yellow.7 If this is the case, discuss options with your doctor.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor dental care can also cause yellow teeth. If you aren’t flossing and brushing your teeth regularly - dentists often recommend twice daily after meals - then you risk a buildup of bacteria and plaque which can make your teeth appear yellow. Such buildup is detrimental to your enamel and can cause cavities or gum health issues.8

Grinding Your Teeth

Bruxism, or the unconscious grinding and clenching of your teeth while asleep, can damage your enamel and expose the yellow dentin layer beneath.9 If you suffer from bruxism, make sure you discuss it with your dentist, who will likely prepare a mouthguard for you to wear when you go to bed to protect your teeth.


Enamel will naturally discolor with age. Even if you brush and floss regularly and follow a good diet, advancing age will give the teeth a slightly yellowish shade, which is perfectly normal. Genetics and family history will often affect this condition. Aging causes teeth to lay down more yellow dentin and reduce the pulp, causing white teeth to turn a slightly yellow shade.10

Why Are My Teeth So Yellow When I Brush Them Everyday?

If you have yellow teeth and don’t believe any of the above reasons apply to you, then it may have something to do with your oral hygiene routine.

Make sure you combine flossing with brushing, and perhaps even use a dentist-recommended mouth rinse. And while brushing your teeth correctly in the manner recommended by your dentist is essential, you should take care not to brush too harshly. Doing so or using a hard toothbrush can erode your enamel, exposing the yellow dentin beneath. Dentists tend to recommend soft toothbrushes over medium or hard ones.

AO ProRinse White Care by PerioSciences in the foreground, with key ingredients including Phloretin and Ferulic Acid and grapefruit seed extracts in the background.

The right mouth rinse can play a key role in preventing your teeth from yellowing. PerioSciences AO ProRinse White Care is specially formulated to boost the effects of whitening treatments while cleaning and soothing your teeth and gums.

Tips On How To Fix Yellow Teeth

If you’re worried about the color of your teeth and would like a whiter smile, there are some things you can do. 

Brush Regularly

As mentioned before, your teeth will yellow when plaque and tartar are allowed to build up on their surfaces. That’s why the most important thing you can do to get a whiter smile is to focus on your flossing and brushing routine. Regular brushing ensures all the unwanted particles are washed out of your mouth, leaving your teeth clean and healthy. This, in turn, can protect your teeth from cavities, gum diseases like gingivitis, and loss of teeth.

Use Teeth-Whitening Products

There are a number of over-the-counter teeth whitening products that you can use to whiten your teeth. However, it’s vital you do your research to avoid damaging your teeth or ingesting any harmful chemicals from the product. The safest path is to choose those products that have been scientifically proven to help and are dentist recommended.

Black box of PerioSciences LED Teeth Whitening Kit with Wireless LED² Light Device that fits into the mouth and three Teeth Whitening Pens.

PerioSciences LED² Teeth Whitening System. Whitening pens with 35% carbamide peroxide and potassium nitrate coupled with our LED² technology let your brightest and healthiest smile shine.

Visit The Dentist Regularly

It’s important to see your dentist at least once a year for a checkup. They can advise you on any dental issues, and you can inquire about professional teeth whitening services. Again, it’s essential to discuss the risks associated with such procedures and to understand which type of chemicals they will be using on your teeth.

Carbamide peroxide is a key ingredient in whitening treatments, and while it helps to whiten teeth, it also has the unfortunate side-effect of causing temporary teeth sensitivity and gum discomfort. Use of teeth whitening pre-treatments coupled with post-whitening toothpaste and post-whitening mouthwash will not only soothe your mouth but extend the effects of the whitening treatment - to ensure a whiter, brighter smile for longer.

AO ProToothpaste Sensitive and AO ProVantage dental gel in the foreground, with samples of the toothpaste and gel in the background.

PerioSciences’ Teeth Whitening Pre-Treatment products are specially formulated to reduce pain and sensitivity caused by teeth whitening treatments.

How To Fix Yellow Teeth At Home

There are a number of home remedies you can try to whiten your teeth. However, it’s a good idea to check with your dentist first to see if you should be using them. For example, while baking soda and hydrogen peroxide have natural whitening properties and are regarded as safe for use on your teeth, we do not recommend using them as they can cause oxidation which can result in extrinsic stains or discoloration.11

However, there are some things you can do to help whiten your yellow teeth.

Ramp Up Your Calcium Intake

Calcium is very healthy for your teeth. In fact, this particular nutrient will protect your enamel from eroding. Regular intake of calcium will strengthen your teeth, particularly enamel.12 Milk, cheese, and other dairy products are rich in calcium. You can also get lots of calcium from green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach.

Increase Your Dose Of Vitamin C

Studies show that a deficiency of Vitamin C can lead to bacterial buildup on teeth and gums.13 This causes discoloration of white teeth. To counter the negative effect of Vitamin C deficiency, you need to ensure an ample supply of the nutrient by consuming foods that are rich in Vitamin C. Citrus fruits, peppers, and strawberries are all rich in Vitamin C. They can boost the whiteness of your teeth, besides improving your overall health.

Boost your oral hygiene routine

You can keep your teeth white and healthy by boosting a good oral hygiene routine with specially formulated toothpastes.

At PerioSciences, we develop and create products that naturally work against the bacteria in your mouth with powerful antioxidants. Our antioxidant toothpastes and white care products are carefully crafted to harness the strength of antioxidants to fight against the bacteria in your mouth, teeth, and gums. They’re also recommended by over 2600 dentists across the US.

Before and after photograph of a 41-year-old man's teeth. The man's teeth are significantly whiter in the "after" section of the photograph.
Before and after photograph of a 42-year-old woman's teeth. The woman's teeth are significantly whiter in the "after" section of the photograph.
Sourced from all-natural products, PerioSciences White Care toothpaste scrubs away stains without any harsh bleaching and leaves a clean, polished look behind. Try boosting your oral hygiene routine with our antioxidant toothpaste today!