Why Do I Have Yellow Teeth?

Did you know that stains are caused by factors inside and outside your teeth? In this blog post, Dr. Crapo shares some insight on a common problem.

We’ve all been there. Coffee, tea, wine, soft drinks, sports drinks, berries, sauces, and sweets: they all cause stains and give us yellow teeth. Some of us like to say otherwise because we get our teeth professionally cleaned or buy home tooth-whitening kits. If you want to spend a bit more money, you can get porcelain or composite resin veneers, just as celebrities and models often do. Tooth whitening might not be for you, and sometimes it can also be expensive. However, the main question you might want to ask precedes questions about how to whiten teeth. In this article, we explain just why we get yellow teeth in the first place.

There are a number of reasons why you might have yellow teeth, and they all basically stem from two main categories: extrinsic and intrinsic discolouration:

Extrinsic discolouration arises from stains on the outside of your teeth that affect your tooth enamel.

Intrinsic discolouration affects the dentin inside the tooth. Dentin is a layer underneath your tooth enamel that sometimes becomes darker. Thick tooth enamel is naturally white; however, as the enamel wears down as you age or for other reasons, it becomes translucent. Dentin, on the other hand, is naturally yellow. Thus, teeth look yellower as their enamel becomes translucent because their dentin shows through.

We have already covered some of the main dietary habits that stain your teeth. That is, coffee, tea, and other drinks, as well as certain foods, particularly dark-colored foods and beverages. As you may have guessed, many foods and drinks have pigment-producing ingredients that like to stick to tooth enamel. Cigarettes, certain medications, prescription-strength mouthwash, and poor dental hygiene that causes excessive dental plaque are also culprits. Acidic items are even worse, as they can erode tooth enamel and make it easier for pigment-producing ingredients to change the color of our teeth.

Even if you try to prevent discoloration, you might just be born with naturally white or yellow teeth. As stated above, thick tooth enamel is white. Therefore, if you were born with naturally translucent teeth, then the yellow color of your dentin will naturally shine through. Without expensive dental work, you might not be able to enhance the colour of your teeth and get those pearly whites. If this is the case for you, then you might want to consider porcelain or composite resin veneers.