Yellow teeth? 10 things that could be causing it.
March 11, 2024
Are yellow teeth affecting your smile confidence? Discover why teeth turn yellow and how to regain a brighter smile. Internal factors like developmental defects or external factors like food and drink habits can play a role. Consult with us for personalised solutions and achieve a whiter, brighter smile.


Ina Alberts

Is your smile not as white as you’d like it to be?
10 Reasons for yellow teeth:

Many factors influence the color of our teeth.  A conversation with your dentist or dental hygienist can help you understand why your teeth aren’t as white as you’d want it.  Let’s discuss some factors that can influence the color of our teeth.

Internal Factors

that can have an effect on the color of our teeth may include:

  • Developmental defects:Fluorosis is a result of too much ingested fluoride during tooth development and is visible when the permanent teeth erupt.  High fluoride content in drinking water or fluoride supplements can cause yellow teeth.  Fluorosis is characterized by white or brown discolorations on teeth and can even result in an uneven or pitted enamel surface.

    The use of Tetracyclines (a type of antibiotic) as a child, during tooth development can also result in discolored permanent teeth.  These days doctors no longer prescribe this antibiotic to young children as they are aware of the effect it can have on the development of permanent teeth.

    A high fever or trauma to teeth during childhood can result in discoloration or enamel defects of permanent teeth.

  • Bleeding of a tooth after trauma can lead to that tooth darkening.
  • A root canal treatment can lead to a color change in that tooth over time.
  • Genetics can play a role in the appearance of your teeth. Some of us have thinner enamel and more of the underlying dentin shines through.


External Factors

that can have an effect on tooth shade are:

  • The type of things we regularly eat or drink, e.g. coffee, red wine, curries, etc.
  • How well we clean our teeth determines the amount of plaque buildup and stains that form on our teeth over time. Excessive plaque buildup can cause decalcifications and enamel breakdown over time which can also be an aesthetic problem.  Decalcification lesions can range from white speckles to yellow, brown or black areas and eventually can lead to a cavity.
  • A smoking habit or vaping can have a negative effect on the color of your teeth.
  • We often hear moms say that antibiotics or medicines caused tooth discoloration and/ or decay in their child’s teeth. The antibiotic as such does not cause complications, but the sugar content of medicines given regularly to sick children without good oral care being maintained during these times can lead to problems and may require extensive dental treatment.  Sugar and dental plaque leads to mineral loss in enamel/ decalcification of teeth that eventually can progress to tooth decay. Where possible, it is important to choose sugar free medicines and to stick to a proper oral hygiene routine even if a child is sick.
  • An aggressive tooth brushing technique or grinding habit can lead to yellow teeth because of a loss of white enamel (the outer layer of our teeth) and exposure of the underlying yellow dentin surface. These areas also tend to be more sensitive.  Hard toothbrushes and abrasive pastes can also cause harm.
  • Erosion of teeth can make teeth look yellower because of enamel loss. Dental erosion is the loss of tooth structure as result of acids, not from bacterial origin.  This can be due to reflux, an eating disorder, regular intake of acidic beverages or sports drinks.


Whatever the cause, you do not need to accept yellow teeth or a yellow smile.  At I love my Smile we believe that everybody needs to be in love with their smile.

We assess and address any concerns you may have about your teeth and help with the right treatment option that can give you the smile you want and deserve!

Book an appointment with our team today!

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