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What Is the Cause Of Yellow Teeth? And How to Make them White Again

Yellow teeth really don’t look that great. Especially in a society obsessed with appearance and being raised on images that have been photo-shopped showing blinding white smiles.

So what causes yellow teeth and what can you do to prevent it from occurring to begin with?

There are two related and major reasons why teeth turn slowly from white into yellow. The first reason is well known. It is certain drinks and foods can stain your teeth directly. We will be covering the 8 worst offenders later on in this article.

The second reason isn’t as well known. It’s the acids that are contained in certain foods as well as drinks that erode the white enamel coating on your teeth.

For example, soda is very acidic and leaving it sitting there on your teeth on a regular basis can cause it to start wearing down the protective outer layer of your teeth.

why do teeth turn yellow?

Tooth enamel, when it is thick, is naturally white. As it wears down, however, it becomes translucent and begins showing through to the dentin, which is the next layer underneath on the tooth.

What Is the Cause Of Yellow Teeth

The dentin layer of the tooth has a natural yellow tone compared to the enamel covering it. Therefore, the thinner the enamel layer is, the most yellow the teeth will look.

That’s why so many elderly people have teeth that are fairly yellow. The older you are, the older your teeth are too, and they’ve had more of a chance for the white protective coating to be worn down.

8 Foods And Beverages That Can Cause Yellow Teeth

The following is a list of drinks and foods that are among the worst for turning your teeth yellow.

The main reason most of them made it onto the list is they stain and are also acidic. This wears the enamel away and leads to yellow teeth.

Although some of these foods and drinks that can turn your teeth to yellow are unhealthy, so you’ll want to avoid them anyway, there are a couple that is good for you otherwise.

If you follow this list, there are a few simple things that can be done to minimize the damage the foods and drinks can do to your teeth but still not completely give them up.

Sodas, Colas And Sports Drinks

The citric and phosphoric acids that are in colas as well as other soda, in addition to their huge quantities of acid sugar, all wear tooth enamel down.

Sodas, Colas And Sports Drinks

That old wives tale that a tooth completely dissolved after it was left in a glass of Coke overnight has been disproved.

However, I did see an experiment that left the teeth very discolored after they’d been in the Coke overnight and completely black after they had been in for a week.

Clearly, cola isn’t something that you should stick your teeth in for very long.

If you’re thinking about giving Coke up, there are numerous other health reasons why you should, beyond the bad things it does to your teeth.

Although cola, with its significant acid levels and ammonia-based caramel coloring, is worse, even sodas that are lightly colored are quite acidic and cause damage to your tooth enamel.

There have been recent studies that have shown that a lot of the so-called “sports drinks” contain even higher amounts of destructive acids than either Coke or Pepsi.

Black Tea

Black TeaThis beverage has a lot of tannins in it. Tannins promote teeth staining. When it comes to teeth discoloration, black teeth are among the most problematic of beverages.

It’s especially bad when you drink it along with other foods and beverages that stain (anything that is hard to wash out of your white shirt) because tannins have a tendency to increase how other strongly colored compounds stick to dental enamel surface.

Green tea is healthier and a lot less prone to cause you problems. So for your smile, it’s a good idea to make the switch.

Brightly Colored Vegetables And Fruits

Brightly Colored Vegetables And FruitsAlthough quite healthy, there are some vegetables, fruits and berries, such as beets, blueberries and pomegranates that are full of heavy colored compounds like polyphenols.

Those substances are very healthy to eat. However, they don’t benefit your teeth.

Instead of avoiding those healthy foods on our list, we will look at two things you can do to minimize any of the beverages and foods staining potential.

Sugary Sweets

Sugary SweetsBrightly colored sweets and hard candies that you chew can really stain your teeth. They have a very high sugar content, and they also stay inside your mouth a long time.

The longer they stay in, the more damage potential to your tooth defenses.

The general rule for sweets, along with the other drinks and foods on this list, is anything that stains your tongue can probably stain your teeth as well.

White And Red Wine

White And Red WineRed wine is infamous for staining teeth because of its deeply colored tannins and polyphenols.

White wine can be a problem as well because its acidic nature and tannins prime tooth enamel to stain from other drinks and foods that are on this list if you have them while drinking white wine.

So don’t think that you will be able to avoid problems if you drink white wine. It is bad also, and might even be worse at times.

Curry As Well As Other Sauces

Bright colored sauces such as curry, tomato sauce, and sweet chili can easily attach to your porous dental enamel. So it’s a good idea to not leave these sauces on your teeth very long.

It is interesting that if you start out with steamed vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli or have salad greens, it can provide a protective layer for your tooth enamel.

This lowers the chances of your teeth staining. So be sure to eat your greens, and particularly at the beginning of your meals. They are very good for your teeth and your overall health.


Table condiments such as ketchup, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce are thought to stain teeth. So follow the tips coming up after you’ve consumed a condiment.

Fruit Juices

Commercial fruit juices might not be as damaging as colas and sports drinks. However, they are a lot more acidic than you might think, especially the really bright colored ones if you are trying to have white teeth.

Fresh juices are not processed like commercial fruit juices are. So in terms of acid, they aren’t a big problem. However, it’s still not a good idea for them to stay on your teeth for too long.

Two Simple Methods For Preventing Yellow Teeth

After reading about how acidic and staining to your teeth some drinks and food can be, you may be tempted to want to brush your teeth right after you consume them. However, don’t do that.

Two Simple Methods For Preventing Yellow Teeth AA506

After consuming one of those drinks or foods, your dental enamel is softer for a half an hour at least. So if you were to brush during that time, you make it worse and result in wearing away some of the weakened enamel.

The good news is that it should harden once again within about an hour. That’s a good time to brush your teeth using a soft bristled toothbrush.

It’s better to remember to do the following two simple things after your consume any of the above drinks or foods.

First of all, drink a big gulp of water once you have finished with your meal. Or you can swirl the water around in your mouth so that it clears any staining compounds or acids away.

Just remembering to do this can really make a huge difference in keeping your teeth white.

The second thing you should do is try actively to get more saliva inside your mouth after you eat. Then allow it to move across your teeth.

After you’ve had a sip of water it’s quite easy to do. Saliva is the natural defense that your mouth has against cavities, staining and enamel erosion.

You might have heard about chewing sugar-free gum following a meal. However, it isn’t necessary. It’s actually best to avoid it since a majority of sugar-free gum contains aspartame, which is potentially dangerous.

If you first swirled the water around in your mouth, it shouldn’t be too hard to build up some extra saliva.

It will turn into a habit before too long. This will help to keep your teeth protected, strong and white, even when you do drink and eat some of the things we have on our list fairly frequently.

Teeth Whitening


Many people are increasingly relying on different teeth whitening methods in order to achieve a whiter smile. This is the quickest way to turn your teeth whiter if they are yellow right now.

One option is using a home whitening kit. In recent years, they’ve really improved. They’re almost the same as visiting a dentist these days in terms of the results you get.

Not all brands are created equal. I recommend Brilliant HD’s Deluxe teeth Whitening Kit. That’s the only brand strong enough for restoring your white teeth.

A majority of dentists offer teeth whitening services. It could require several visits, depending on what condition your teeth are in. Most dentists charge slightly less than $1,000 for this service.

Final Thought

Our purpose here isn’t to tell you not to ever consume any of these drinks or foods (although cutting out drinks such as soda can help your waistline more than it does your teeth).

Instead, we want to be sure you’re aware of what the causes of yellow teeth are, and how a simple small ritual that you can easily do after drinking or eating can help keep your teeth much whiter than they would be otherwise.