Help! My Teeth are Yellow

Dec 11, 2023
Help! My Teeth are Yellow
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the last holiday creature you want to resemble is The Grinch. His yellow-toothed smile would send shivers down anyone’s spine. But the Grinch smiles back at you when you look in the mirror. Why?

Despite changing aesthetics over the centuries, yellow teeth aren’t seen as a mark of beauty across most cultures. Though the Japanese once considered blackened teeth beautiful in women, yellow teeth are traditionally associated with aging or poor oral hygiene.

In fact, a better smile increases a viewer’s perception of your attractiveness and confidence. Surveys find that a crooked or yellowed smile makes you look about 37% less attractive and 25% less successful than someone with a perfect smile with white, shining teeth. 

Addie Chang, DMD, an expert family dentist, understands the importance of clean healthy teeth that also look clean and healthy. In addition to preventive dentistry that identifies and corrects problems and deep-cleans your teeth, she offers teeth whitening and veneers as part of our cosmetic dentistry services. 

Why are your teeth yellow, and what can you do about it? Read on to find out.

Your teeth are what you eat

If you eat a diet that’s filled with antioxidant-rich berries, such as blueberries — that’s great for your entire body! However, it’s not so great for your teeth.

Highly colored foods and beverages stain your teeth, leaving them darker and duller. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat blueberries or even drink coffee and tea (also filled with antioxidants). It does mean, however, that you should at least rinse and preferably brush afterward.

It also means that you may need whitening treatments to keep your teeth looking brilliant and shining. Be mindful of staining foods and habits, such as:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Blueberries
  • Other dark berries
  • Tobacco use

Sometimes even light beverages dull your teeth: White wine, for instance, can lead to staining. Be sure to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (including blueberries!) to keep your body strong and healthy, but also, take care of your teeth by rinsing off foods with sugars or acids ASAP and brushing after about 30 minutes, if possible.

Your teeth show your age

That yellow tinge in your teeth may not be due to stains at all. In fact, what could be happening is that the “true” color of your inner teeth is now shining through. And that occurs because of the aging process.

When you’re young, the enamel on your teeth is thick and strong. That’s what makes your teeth look so white and bright. The surface is whiter than it becomes after years of wear-and-tear and staining foods, but it is also thick enough to hide your tooth’s inner dentin.

The dentin is the pulpy part in the center of your tooth. Its natural color is a kind of grayish, brownish, dingy yuk. Once your enamel thins out, it can’t disguise the color of the dentin any longer.

You’ve ground or damaged your teeth

Bruxism is a common, unconscious habit where you grind your teeth while sleeping. Your dentist alerts you to bruxism during your biannual exams. The most telling signs are molar surfaces that are worn down to be nearly flat and front teeth that look uneven.

Whether from bruxism or trauma, if your teeth suffer damage, they’re more likely to look yellow. Grinding and trauma can cause hairline fractures in the teeth that wear down enamel and make the teeth more porous (i.e., more easily stained).

Antibiotics or fluorosis are the culprits

Certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline, may discolor your teeth if you had them as a child. Also, overexposure to fluoride can create white, yellow, or brown spots on your teeth known as fluorosis. 

Transform your teeth from yellow to white

If you’re bothered by yellowed teeth, the first step is to consult your dentist. Over-the-counter whitening kits are weak, time-consuming, and may damage your teeth or gums.

You also may not be a candidate for teeth whitening. You may benefit from veneers instead depending on why your teeth appear yellow. Veneers are ultra-thin, tooth-shaped shells that slip over and are permanently affixed to your natural teeth.

Veneers are stain-resistant, so once you have them, you no longer have to worry about blueberries or coffee. If you’re a candidate for teeth whitening without veneers, you may need periodic touch-ups to keep your teeth sparkling and healthy looking.

Beautiful teeth start with an in-depth exam and cleaning. Once your teeth and gums are healthy, we recommend restorative dentistry with teeth whitening or veneers to create a dazzling and healthy smile. 

Are you ready for pearly whites again? Contact our team by phone or the online form for whitening or veneers today.