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Common Causes of Yellow Teeth

Even if you eat a healthy diet and practice good oral hygiene, your teeth are still vulnerable to yellowing and discoloration over time. Tobacco use is one of the most common culprits of yellow teeth — and a number of oral and general health problems — but some other factors that make your teeth yellow might surprise you.

At Haider Family Dentistry in Salem, Oregon, Dr. Jeremy Haider and our dental team offer a number of cosmetic and general dentistry services for the entire family. We can help brighten your smile and keep your mouth healthy.

What makes your teeth yellow

If your teeth aren’t as white as you’d like them to be, several factors could be at play, starting with your oral hygiene routine. Poor dental hygiene habits — like not brushing and flossing as often as you should and skipping routine dental appointments — are among the leading causes of yellowing teeth, as well as tooth decay and gum disease.

However, your teeth can still become yellow even if you brush and floss as recommended by your dentist and the American Dental Association. As we mentioned, lifestyle habits such as smoking and tobacco use can cause teeth to yellow.

After smoking, food and drink are usually the biggest culprits behind yellow teeth. You’re probably already familiar with some of the worst staining offenders:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Dark berries and some acidic fruits
  • Sauces like soy sauce and tomato sauce

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite foods and drinks in moderation, but you should be mindful of how your diet affects your smile. You can keep your smile brighter longer by brushing after each meal.

Surprising factors that can also make your teeth yellow

In some cases, yellow teeth have nothing to do with lifestyle or diet. They also can be caused by medical conditions, specifically as a side effect of some types of medication.

Certain antibiotics like tetracycline can cause dental stains in children whose teeth are still developing. Antihistamines, blood pressure medication, and antipsychotic drugs have also been known to cause tooth discoloration. Fluoride is necessary for healthy teeth, but it can also lead to stains if you overdo it.

Thinning tooth enamel can also make your teeth vulnerable to staining and discolorations over time. As you lose tooth enamel, the natural, darker color of the dentin within your tooth shows through.

What you can do about yellow teeth

In addition to regular dental cleanings, in which we clean and polish your teeth, we also have other options available if your teeth have become yellow or aren’t as white as you’d like them to be.

Professional teeth whitening

Our professional-grade teeth whitening solution can remove stains and improve the look of yellowed teeth. We offer an at-home kit that you apply yourself with custom bleaching trays made from your dental impressions.


Some types of dental staining and yellowing don’t respond to surface teeth whitening treatments — such as teeth discolored by trauma or medication. Veneers are a better solution in this case because they cover your natural teeth with a thin layer of porcelain, which both protects your teeth and brightens your smile.

For more information about professional teeth whitening treatments and other cosmetic dentistry options for a whiter and healthier looking smile, contact Haider Family Dentistry today. You can call our office or request an appointment online.

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