My teeth are yellow

  • Rachel Klauzer – Oral Health Therapist
    • Dec 23, 2020
    • 3 min read


– Grinding our teeth or acid wear/erosion

As we grind our teeth, the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) starts to wear down. The inner layer of our tooth (the dentine) is a lot more yellow in colour.

This is similar to acid wear/erosion. The acidic foods and drinks that we have in our diet or certain lifestyle factors can cause the outer layer of our tooth (the enamel) to wear away. Thus, the more yellow part of the tooth (the dentine) is exposed.

– Tooth abrasion or recession

Tooth abrasion can be caused by our technique with our toothbrush or even the type of toothbrush that we use. A medium or firm toothbrush is not recommended and we never want to use too much pressure or a ‘scrubbing’ motion when we brush our teeth. Similar to what is mentioned above, this can cause the yellow, inner layer of the tooth (dentine) to be exposed over time.

– Trauma to a tooth

Have you ever looked at someone’s teeth and wondered why only one tooth is much more yellow, black or brown in colour compared to the others? One reason for this could be trauma. When we knock a tooth, the nerve can get affected and cause the tooth to become discolored.

– Diet

Especially pigmented foods and drinks such as red wine, tea, coffee, smoking, curry etc.

– Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene with plaque and calculus present on the teeth make them appear more yellow or even brown in colour. Good oral hygiene habits as well as regular visits to the dentist for check-up and cleans can prevent this from happening.

Tooth abnormalities such as hypomineralisation or fluorosis. There can also be other conditions that could make your teeth appear more yellow which can be discussed further with your dental practitioner.


With any whitening product or procedure, firstly consult with your dental practitioner.

– Whitening toothpaste

Some whitening toothpastes are marketed as ‘whitening toothpastes’ but only have abrasive ingredients. This may be effective for some people with surface staining, but for some, this can be too abrasive for long term use. With long term use, this may also cause an increase in tooth sensitivity for some people.

Other whitening toothpastes can have hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These ingredients may show some improvements, but for most people it doesn’t make a dramatic difference. This is because the concentration of the ingredient added is very low and it doesn’t sit on your teeth for a long period of time.

– Activated charcoal

There can be charcoal mixed with toothpaste or charcoal powder mixed with water or other ingredients. Some types of activated charcoal toothpastes or pastes can be too abrasive with long term use. Some can be more effective than others. This option may be effective for some people with surface staining on the teeth only (from pigmented foods/drinks or tabacco).

– Custom-made home whitening kit that usually include the main ingredient hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Simar to the pre-made whitening kits, although usually these come in a higher percentage and fit exactly onto the shape of your teeth. Some brands include:

· SDI Pola day

– Whitening in the dental chair usually includes the main ingredient hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, although, this is at a much higher percentage. This gives you instant results instead of doing it over a period of time.

Before you consider any whitening options, always discuss this with your dental practitioner.

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