Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?

woman's smile side by side image yellow teeth on left and white teeth on right, before and after teeth whitening

When we think of yellow teeth, we usually associate them with poor hygiene practices and neglect. But the truth is, there are multiple factors that contribute to tooth discoloration. Here are just a few reasons why teeth can turn yellow.


Smoking is an unhealthy habit for many reasons, but one of the biggest effects that smoking has on the body is immunity suppression. Having a weak immune system means you’re unable to fight off bacteria as well as you normally can, allowing it to multiply more quickly. When plaque and bacteria get caught under your gum line and multiply, you are on a faster track to developing painful and costly gum disease, which can eventually result in tooth loss.


If you take antibiotics, you may have noticed your teeth turning yellow. That isn’t a coincidence! Certain medications can get deposited into teeth, causing them to change color.


Sometimes the color of our teeth is determined genetically. If you’ve noticed that the shade of your teeth is the same as your parents’ or grandparents’, you can chalk the color of your teeth up to genetics. You may also just have naturally weak enamel—or the outer layer of the teeth—making way for more stains.


Fluoride is a staple when it comes to oral care—it’s in our water supply, toothpastes, and even offered as a standalone treatment at the dentist’s office. But exposing your teeth to excessive amounts of fluoride can cause staining, so try to limit at-home treatments.


If you tend eat or drink acidic and sugary things, you’re weakening your enamel. Having weak enamel allows for stains to develop more easily, giving your teeth a dark or yellowish appearance.


If you’ve chipped or cracked your teeth, your enamel is likely damaged and can make way for staining.

How to Whiten Yellow Teeth

Having yellow teeth can affect your self-confidence, but it doesn’t have to. Try in-office or at-home whitening at Reen Chung, DDS! We offer flexible financing options in case you’re on a budget. Contact us to schedule an appointment!

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Reen Chung, DDS

Reen Chung, DDS