Getting to the Bottom of Yellow Stains on Teeth

Updated on July 4, 2020

Brushing your teeth regularly is a must for everybody. It helps fight plaque build-up, cavities, and keeps your breath nice and minty. So why do your teeth turn yellow even though you have a regular routine? 

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Let’s get to the bottom of it. 

Do not worry, getting a yellow hue on your pearly whites is very normal! Various things that we do in our daily life can affect the color of teeth.

Here are some reasons why your smile may be this way so you will know how to get rid of yellow teeth

Types of Staining

First, we have to identify what type of staining occurs. There are two main categories: extrinsic stains and intrinsic stains. 

Extrinsic Stains

These are your surface-level stainers that affect the enamel’s surface. Tooth enamel is quite easily stained but the coloring is not that hard to remove. 

Extrinsic stains can be caused by your lifestyle, mainly. If you regularly smoke, chew tobacco, and drink coffee or tea, you will probably notice yellow stains. This is caused by the tar and the nicotine found in the first two mentioned. These two ingredients are heavyweights when it comes to discoloration.

But how can you tell which food items stain or not? Many say that if it can blotch a white shirt, it is likely that they can discolor teeth too. Foods that stain include soy sauce, curries, red sauces, blueberries, pomegranates, and the like. 

Foods that are acidic also have a higher chance of staining teeth. This is why tea can heavily discolor as they contain an acidic compound called tannin. Taking iron supplements can be another cause as well. If you’re looking to get rid of these stains, drop by for more information.

Intrinsic Stains

Unfortunately, there are also stains that go deep within your pearly whites. Intrinsic stains occur in the dentin which is part of the inner tooth. These are significantly more challenging to get rid of. 

Dentists have pinpointed the cause of these and chuck it up to medications such as certain antibiotics, blood pressure medications, and antihistamines. 

If your child, for example, is taking tetracyclin or doxycycline at a young age, you may notice the dreaded yellowing taking place. For women who have recently given birth, the culprit for your baby’s teeth stain is tetracycline. 

Teens cannot escape either. Teenagers suffering from acne may also observe some discoloration on their pearly whites if they are taking minocycline, an acne deterrent drug. 

For adults, they have found that some prescription mouthwashes also give an unwanted effect. If your dentist has prescribed you with a mouthwash containing the compound chlorhexidine, brown stains may be seen.

Intrinsic stains also cannot be avoided when undergoing chemotherapy. The radiation emitted is the main source of the yellowing effect. 

Other Causes

There are a few causes that are not necessarily extrinsic or intrinsic. Some of the other causes can be caused by something else entirely – usually out of your control. 

The number 1 reason that various dentists have identified is genetics. If your mom and dad have yellow teeth, there is a high chance that you will develop it too. Going further, if your parents have the genetic disorder dentinogenesis imperfecta and amelogenesis imperfecta (both affect the hue you see on your teeth), you will, unfortunately, get it as well. 

Other unavoidable causes are age, illnesses such as jaundice, and even some childhood habits such as teeth grinding. As one grows older, your teeth will darken in color as your tooth enamel thins out. 


The best way to avoid yellow stains is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Regularly brush your teeth and visit your dentist twice a year for a better experience.

Do not worry too much, most discolorations can be easily fixed as technology has caught up with the times. A brighter smile is always possible these days. 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.