What Makes Teeth Yellow?

Ever seen an old photo of yourself and realized that your teeth aren’t as bright as they used to be? You might wonder what caused them to lose their luster. Even if you have healthy teeth, they may still have stains due to dietary reasons, medical conditions, or your family history. 

What can you do to reverse the signs of staining, dullness, and discolouration? We’re going to explore what causes yellow teeth and what you can do to fix them:

Causes of Yellow Teeth

So, why do teeth turn yellow? Below, we’ve listed the most common causes of tooth discolouration: 


Given that the food you eat comes into direct contact with your teeth, it’s no wonder why your diet is often the cause of yellow teeth. 

Here’s a test you can use: If the food stains your skin, it will probably stain your teeth, too. For example, think of beets, pomegranates, and blueberries. If you have thin tooth enamel, your teeth will be particularly susceptible to this type of staining. Curries and tomato-based sauces are also culprits. 


Some of our favourite drinks may be the cause of yellow teeth. Which drinks contain stain-producing substances, like tannins or pigments? Here’s a list of beverages to watch out for:

  • Red wine
  • Coffee
  • Black tea
  • Soda

Medications & Illnesses

Certain medications can cause your bright white smile to turn dull or yellow. 

If you took the antibiotics tetracycline or doxycycline as a child, that might be the cause of your adult teeth stains. 

Other medications that may stain teeth include:

  • Antipsychotics
  • High blood pressure medication
  • Antihistamines

Medications that cause dry mouth are another concern. Without saliva, teeth are more prone to decay, which can lead to staining

Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene can often cause yellow teeth due to plaque. As tooth enamel wears away, it reveals the layer underneath, called dentin. Dentin is naturally yellow; the more it shows through, the more stained your teeth appear. 


If other members of your family have naturally dull or yellow teeth, you may have inherited those traits. 


Did you know that fluoride, the same mineral that helps strengthen your tooth enamel, can actually stain teeth? If you are exposed to too much fluoride while your teeth are developing, it may cause white spots to form on your adult teeth. 


Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco results in teeth stains. These stains may be yellow or brown. If you want to protect your pearly smile and prevent stained teeth, it’s time to kick the habit!


How do you ensure that your white teeth stay white and stop stains from forming in the first place? We’ve assembled the best preventative measures you can take to prevent yellow teeth.

If you’ve recently had a teeth whitening treatment, these tips can help you maintain the results. 

Change your diet

As we mentioned earlier, the things you eat and drink are the biggest culprits behind yellow teeth. Try drinking any teeth-staining beverages through a straw.

If you do consume foods that stain your teeth, follow it up by drinking and rinsing your mouth with water. 30 minutes after you’re done, you can brush your teeth to help prevent staining. 

Talk to your doctor

Do you take medications that are causing tooth discolouration or dry mouth? If so, talk to your doctor about switching medications.

Ramp up your oral hygiene

Prevention starts with a good dental hygiene routine. You can try using a whitening toothpaste to lighten extrinsic stains. But if you’re looking for more effective and dramatic results, over-the-counter products won’t cut it. Consider contacting your dentist about professional teeth whitening. 

Quit smoking

Tobacco stains can be hard to treat but not impossible. By scheduling a professional teeth whitening treatment, you can target stubborn brown or yellow stains. 

Visit the dentist

A Saskatoon dentist can figure out the causes of yellow teeth. Perhaps your teeth just need a deep clean! In any case, visiting the dentist will help you identify the cause and the best treatment for stained teeth. 


What are the most effective (and safe) ways to get a whiter smile? At Dental House, we recommend the following treatments to keep your smile bright:

Dental veneers

These thin porcelain shells attach directly to the front of your teeth. While they won’t whiten teeth, they will hide any signs of staining or discolouration. In addition, veneers strengthen your teeth, which protects you from sensitivity or pain. If you deal with intrinsic teeth stains (which are harder to treat), consider dental veneers.

Teeth whitening

Whiter teeth are within your reach. All it takes is one or two teeth whitening treatments at Dental House. We offer in-office and take-home whitening treatments. These treatments are particularly effective for stains on the outer layer of teeth. If you’re interested in teeth whitening in Saskatoon, call Dental House.