Worried that your teeth are starting to yellow, even when you are doing your best to brush them properly? You aren’t alone. Even when following the best advice, teeth can become stained.
However, most of the time it happens because of incorrect brushing advice given when we were younger. We’ve got a few tips for you, as well as some easy hacks that could potentially help your teeth look brighter and healthier.
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Why Are My Teeth Yellow When I Brush Them Everyday?
Teeth can yellow for a number of reasons, even if you are brushing them properly every day. Normally, yellow teeth are a result of worn enamel caused by poor diet, smoking, certain drinks, aging, and genetics.
But there could be a few things you’ve been doing wrong for a while without knowing. Many of us grew up with some teeth health myths that could do with being broken. First though, let’s find out why teeth turn yellow.
Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?
Teeth become more yellowish in color in a few ways. The main reason is that the outer enamel of the tooth wears down or weakens. Enamel isn’t pure white, it’s actually semi-translucent. That means a thick enamel layer looks white as it doesn’t show much of what’s behind it, but a thinner layer exposes more of what sits behind it.
Dentin is one of the inner parts of a tooth and is a yellowish color. As enamel is weakened or worn down, more of the yellow dentin shows through. There are a lot of reasons for this that we’ll cover below. Luckily, some of them can be easy to fix!
1 – Not Brushing & Flossing Properly
You could have yellow teeth even when you brush every day purely because of poor technique!
Brushing isn’t as simple as a bit of back and forth with some toothpaste and you’re done. If you don’t brush the front and back of each tooth, brush too hard, don’t use a softer brush (harder isn’t better), and don’t do it two or three times a day you could actually be missing out on brushing properly.
You should also make sure your toothbrush is clean and sterilized. Boiling your toothbrush is an easy way to clean it every few months, but consider replacing the brush once every three to four months instead.
How To Brush Your Teeth Properly
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This is a complete guide to brushing properly with a manual toothbrush. With an electric toothbrush, it’s very similar. The main difference is that with an electric toothbrush you don’t have to do the moving motion yourself.
- Use a soft to medium brush. Harder bristles are not better, they are worse!
- Use around a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that contains fluoride
- Brush each tooth individually – be gentle
- Use a circular motion, not a back and forth
- Brush at a 45-degree angle – i.e. point towards the gums, not back and forth across the teeth
- Brush the front, bottom, and back of your teeth. Don’t be tempted to skip what you can’t see from the front
- When brushing, imagine flicking the plaque and debris away from your teeth
- When brushing the back of the front teeth (upper and lower) you can point the toothbrush straight up or down and try to imagine pulling that debris out and away
- Brush for two minutes, trying to divide the time evenly
- Scrub your tongue to remove debris but don’t go too far back
- Spit out the toothpaste and wipe your mouth clean but don’t spit out the toothpaste! Keeping fluoride in the mouth protects your enamel
- Floss at least once a day, using either standard dental floss, interdental brushes, or a water flosser.
- Change your toothbrush once every three months
2 – Smoking
Smoking is a huge cause of yellowed and stained teeth. Quitting is also one of the simplest changes you can make to reduce teeth yellowing. That being said, not everything that is simple is easy. There are a few reasons why smoking causes yellow teeth: –
- The nicotine and tar in cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other tobacco products is yellow, and it leaves stains on the teeth
- Smoking also causes dry mouth. Saliva protects your teeth, so less saliva overall leads to more enamel erosion
- Smokers are more prone to gum disease, which often leads to dental problems like gum recession. This in turn leads to yellowing of the teeth
Luckily, once you stop smoking there are a few routes to getting those teeth white again. Using a whitening toothpaste, visiting a dental hygienist for a cleaning, then getting your teeth whitened with a specialist can all reverse yellowing fairly quickly after smoking.
3 – Soda, Coffee, Tea & Red Wine
Acidic drinks and certain drinks that are heavily colored can cause staining of your teeth as well as weakened enamel. All soda and fizzy drinks use carbonic acid for the carbonation that gives them their fizz. When submerged in acid liquids, tooth enamel dissolves – so limit your intake.
Tea, coffee, and red wine all contain tannins – which can stain teeth. Some soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi contain both tannins and are highly acidic. Though these are the usual suspects, things like fruit juice also contain high levels of acid, with darker juices like cranberry and grape juice also having tannins.
While in a perfect world you’d never touch a sip of these again, it’s not too bad if you indulge occasionally. However, think about limiting yourself if you are concerned about having whiter teeth. You can also rinse your mouth out with water shortly after drinking these to avoid the bad stuff hanging around too long.
4 – Poor Diet
As well as the drinks above, a poor diet that is high in sugar is a big cause of yellow teeth. Sugar and teeth just do not mix. When sugar sits in your mouth while eating candy, cake, and other sweet treats, the bacteria in your mouth produce acid to break it down.
This acid is also highly effective at breaking down tooth enamel. On top of this, enamel breakdown can lead to cavities. This is very common in children and leads to fillings. Cavities are small holes in the enamel, which contribute to the breakdown of the enamel overall.
So eating sugar breaks down enamel, leaving dentin to show through – meaning teeth look yellow. Sugary drinks like orange juice and soda are common problems, so check our full article on food to avoid with braces for a breakdown.
5 – Over Brushing
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Brushing too hard, for too long, using a hard bristle brush, or brushing incorrectly can all be bad for your teeth. Hard brushes and brushing too firmly literally wears down enamel, exposing the yellow dentin. Switch to a soft brush and brush lightly.
The bristles shouldn’t be completely splayed out, just pushed down a bit. Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head once every three months.
Consider switching to an electric toothbrush. They had a pressure sensor that tells you when you are brushing too hard. They also have a built-in timer that tells you when to switch to different parts of your mouth and when to stop. This one does the job perfectly.
6 – Damage
When a tooth is damaged from a crack (often from a knock in sports), or from habitual grinding, the outer layer of enamel can be worn down and expose the inner dentin. This can lead to teeth appearing yellow. Seeing a dentist after cracking or knocking a tooth can help avoid later problems.
Sometimes when a tooth is knocked it will start to turn gray. This indicates the root of the tooth is dying or dead. The color shows through the outer enamel layer. A root canal is often needed here to save the tooth, and bleaching can then restore the color.
6 – Genetics
Some of us are just born with weaker enamel. This means the enamel wears down faster and our teeth will look yellower than others. You could always try a tooth whitening treatment with a dental professional but bear in mind your teeth may also be a little more sensitive than others.
People with certain health conditions like cleidocranial dysplasia (like Dustin from Stranger Things – aka Gaten Matarazzo) will also have weaker enamel than most.
7 – Antibiotic Use
Some antibiotics can cause tooth discoloration. Tetracycline as well as its derivatives minocycline and doxycycline can lead to darkening of the internal part of the tooth. This is most common when children are given the antibiotic, so it’s not common for these to be prescribed at a young age or for certain people.
If you think that antibiotic use could have caused your teeth to become stained or darker, speak to a dental professional about what you could do to help this.
Can Yellow Teeth Go Away With Brushing?
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Yes, when you have yellowed teeth from brushing improperly or not enough, brushing will help. Use our tips above (soft bristles, wait 30 mins after food/drink, fluoride toothpaste, brush evenly and softly) and use a whitening toothpaste (not a charcoal one!) then you can remove some staining.
Whitening toothpastes that contain fluoride, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda do have a whitening effect on teeth according to a large-scale scientific review.
Why Are My Teeth Yellow With Braces?
If you feel that your teeth are yellower since you’ve had braces put on, it could be one few things. Getting braces makes it much harder to clean your teeth properly. Acid, bits of food, and plaque can all accumulate easier around the metal and rubber parts of the braces.
This means you have to really brush properly as well as floss regularly. We’d suggest using interdental brushes of different sizes, as using floss isn’t as effective with braces.
Get a larger and smaller set of interdental brushes. The larger is for in between the braces and your teeth, for the awkward spots your brush can’t quite reach. The smaller ones are for the gaps in your teeth you’d normally use floss on.
A water flosser can also be helpful to remove bits of food that are annoying to get at. However, we’d suggest it as an additional tool for quick cleaning when you don’t have time for a full floss.
It could also be that you are spending a lot more time looking at your teeth and they haven’t changed color. Certain colors of rubber bands used also make your teeth look yellower or whiter. You might find that the different shades of blue rubber bands look better and make your teeth look whiter.
It could also be the glue that holds the braces brackets to your teeth. Once you’ve had your braces removed, this leftover glue will be buffed off. As long as you’ve looked after your teeth properly you’ll find the color will go back to normal
How To Get Rid Of Yellow Teeth After Braces?
If you have yellow teeth after braces, give yourself a week or two of fully cleaning and flossing while using whitening toothpaste. You might find that any excess plaque has then been removed. After this, we’d suggest contacting a dental professional about tooth whitening.
You can do this at the dentist’s office or at home. Commonly you’ll do the first in the office and later ones at home with a gel. If you got a plastic retainer after finishing your braces treatment you’ll probably use this as the tray for the whitening.
Why are my teeth yellow even though I brush 3 times a day? ›
Consuming Certain Foods and Drinks
“Certain foods that are high in tannins, such as red wine, are potential causes of yellow teeth,” notes Crest. Other teeth-staining foods include coffee, citrus fruits and juices, soft drinks, teas, berries, tomato-based sauces, curry, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce.
Frequently drinking wine, tea, or coffee and eating certain staining foods affects the shade of your tooth enamel. These foods and beverages leave color particles on your tooth's surface that penetrate your tooth enamel over time, leaving you with yellow or dull-looking teeth.Why are my teeth healthy but yellow? ›
Natural Enamel Thickness & Translucency
However, the underlying dentin layer has a slightly yellowish color. This yellowish hue shows through the enamel in almost everyone, but more so for those with naturally thinner or more translucent enamel. So your yellow teeth may be perfectly normal due to your genetics!
In most cases, the common cause for tooth discolouration is external staining as a result of drinking coffee, tea, or wine, or from smoking and other tobacco use.Can yellow teeth be white again? ›
Yes, most stains can easily be lifted from the teeth with professional whitening treatments. The strength of our treatments help patients transform their smile to a dazzling white! It is important to note that internal stains are more difficult to remove.Are my teeth yellow forever? ›
Thankfully, yellow teeth aren't forever. Not only can your teeth be whitened, but you can also adopt habits that keep them looking good. Use this blog to learn about why teeth become yellow, how you can fix them, and what you can do to prevent future discoloration.Why wont my teeth whiten? ›
If your teeth have biofilm or plaque buildup, this can prevent the bleaching agent from reaching the target stains. Before considering any teeth whitening treatment, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment for a dental cleaning. These cleanings remove all signs of biofilm and plaque on the surface of your teeth.How do you fix permanent yellow teeth? ›
Get a Professional Whitening Done
The most effective way to fix tooth decoloration, at least, without getting “new” teeth, is to get professional whitening done at your local dentist office.
Their Permanent Teeth Are Starting to Come in
If your child is about 6-7 years old and their permanent teeth have started to erupt, you may notice that their permanent teeth look quite a bit more yellow than their baby teeth.
A light-yellow color indicates a strong healthy smile. The natural color of your dentin, the layer of tiny tubules that lies beneath your enamel and connects to the dental nerve in each tooth, is yellow.
What foods make your teeth yellow? ›
- Tea and coffee. Tea (including green tea) and coffee contain tannins, which cause staining.
- Red wine. Drinking red wine is one of the most common causes of tooth staining.
- Cola. ...
- Fruit juices. ...
- Tomato-based sauces. ...
- Curry. ...
- Balsamic vinegar. ...
- Soy sauce.
Even with daily brushing, certain foods and drinks can cause stained teeth. For example, frequently drinking coffee, tea and wine can all lead to yellow teeth. In addition, even regular brushing cannot always combat yellow teeth caused by smoking cigarettes.Can I save my yellow teeth? ›
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide
Using a toothpaste containing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide may help reduce yellowing of the teeth. A 2012 study found that using a toothpaste containing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide reduces tooth staining and improves whiteness.
For about two to six weeks, you can use dentist-recommended whitening toothpaste and brush twice a day. You can use a certified whitening mouthwash which usually takes about three months to produce visible results. Whitening strips are the most compelling in-house treatments that last up to six months.Are yellow teeth unattractive? ›
Yellow or discolored teeth can be unattractive causing teeth to look prematurely aged, or dirty. Patients with discolored teeth may feel embarrassed of their smile and hide their smile in photos or while laughing. White, bright smiles can help patients feel more confident in professional and personal interactions.Do yellow teeth fall out? ›
If you're noticing that your child has yellow teeth, but the only teeth that look yellow are their adult teeth, this is likely the issue. You don't need to do anything about it. Over time, your child will lose their baby teeth, and their permanent teeth will lighten in color and look more uniform.What is the fastest way to whiten teeth? ›
The quickest, most dramatic way to whiten is to get an in-office bleaching at a dentist's office. Using professional-strength hydrogen peroxide and special lights or lasers, your dentist can remove even deep stains in about an hour. It'll cost you, though—probably between $500 and $1,200.How to make teeth whiter? ›
- Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes.
- Use a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
- Cleaning between your teeth once a day.
- Limiting foods that stain your teeth, like coffee, tea and red wine.
- Not smoking or using tobacco.
It is perfectly natural to have yellow teeth and this is not necessarily a sign of poor oral health. Even with a healthy lifestyle, factors outside of our control can affect the appearance of our teeth such as our genes and the thickness of our tooth enamel.Can teeth ever get whiter? ›
The most effective way to get whiter teeth is to have a professional dentist perform an in-office whitening treatment. There are several treatments that a dentist may recommend depending on your teeth and desired appearance. For example, you might undergo an in-office bleaching, laser or heat treatment.
Why are my teeth taking so long to whiten? ›
The full effects of tooth whitening can usually be seen after the first 24 hours. If you use at-home whitening kits, it can take longer to see results. Due to the lower concentration of whitening agents, it can take upwards of two to three weeks to achieve the results you are looking for.How long do teeth take to whiten? ›
Opt for teeth whitening toothpaste and it will likely take two to six weeks for any results to show. A whitening gel or tray will likely show results within the first couple weeks of treatment.Can you fix yellow teeth naturally? ›
Using a paste made of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is said to remove plaque buildup and bacteria to get rid of stains. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after brushing with this paste.How can I remove yellow teeth naturally? ›
- Practice oil pulling. ...
- Brush with baking soda. ...
- Use hydrogen peroxide. ...
- Eat fruits and vegetables. ...
- Prevent tooth stains before they happen. ...
- Don't underestimate the value of brushing and flossing.
The dentist will either apply a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield, like a mouth guard, before applying a kind of bleach to your teeth. At-home Bleaching: If you can't stay in the office for a few hours, another way a dentist can whiten yellow teeth is by giving you a custom-made tray to do it yourself.What yellows your teeth the most? ›
Coffee and tea are two of the most common causes of yellow teeth, but red and white wine are also to blame. Other culprits include dark and light sodas and sports drinks with artificial flavoring.How yellow should teeth be? ›
Teeth are Bright White by Nature
Natural teeth are normally tinged with grey or yellow. Basically, it's the thickness and shade of your enamel which impact the color of your teeth. Don't worry if you brush daily and your teeth still remain yellow. It could just be that they're that shade naturally.
What makes your teeth appear whiter: Deeper colors, such as royal/navy blue, purple, and even black, can make your teeth look whiter. Nonetheless, keep in mind that colors like dark green and brown can resemble food.What drinks stain teeth the most? ›
- Colored Sports. Drinks While many people don't think of sports drinks as staining, they do have the potential. ...
- Red Wine. The dark purple color comes from having many chromogens. ...
- Coffee. ...
- Soda. ...
- The Biggest Offender- Black Tea.
White tea, yerba mate, and rooibos are great coffee alternatives that won't stain your teeth. White tea comes from the same plant as green tea, but is minimally processed to preserve its health benefits. As an added bonus, research shows that white tea may also prevent cavities and gum disease!
Can your teeth go from yellow to white by brushing? ›
Tooth Brushing Isn't Meant to Whiten Teeth
Brushing twice a day (or more if recommended by a dentist) is essential, as it removes plaque and prevents cavities. The bristle action of a toothbrush won't whiten teeth, though, and even whitening toothpastes can only have a limited effect on the surface of teeth.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda
Using this mixture removes bacteria and buildup of plaque to get rid of surface stains. Create a hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste and use it to brush your teeth. After that, use water to rinse the mouth. You can also create a mouthwash using equal amounts of each ingredient.
Thankfully, yellow teeth aren't forever. Not only can your teeth be whitened, but you can also adopt habits that keep them looking good. Use this blog to learn about why teeth become yellow, how you can fix them, and what you can do to prevent future discoloration.How long does it take for teeth to go white again? ›
When it comes to teeth whitening, it is essential to understand that the amount of whitening necessary depends on the amount of stain on the teeth. Professional teeth whitening treatment typically takes three to four weeks.How long yellow teeth turn white? ›
For about two to six weeks, you can use dentist-recommended whitening toothpaste and brush twice a day. You can use a certified whitening mouthwash which usually takes about three months to produce visible results. Whitening strips are the most compelling in-house treatments that last up to six months.What toothpaste removes yellow teeth? ›
Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste is a top pick among our dentists as it's a budget-friendly and effective way to whiten and protect the overall health of your teeth.How are people's teeth so white? ›
Enamel is mostly made up of calcium phosphate, a naturally white, rock-hard mineral, giving our teeth their white colour. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and should last a lifetime. However, the outer layer of enamel can become damaged or worn down, particularly if you eat a lot of sugary foods.Is it OK to not have white teeth? ›
Teeth that are not perfectly white can still be healthy. The teeth are considered unhealthy if their color is attributed to plaque buildup or staining. Having off-white teeth is often healthy. Myth #3: Braces contribute to yellowing of teeth.