Otara Dental
15 Carleton Dr #102 St. Albert AB T8N 7K9 (780) 460-0000

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St. Albert, AB

(780) 460-0000

Why Are My Teeth Yellow?

A divided perspective of a woman illustrating the contrast between her white and yellow teeth.

Smiling is contagious. It’s universal. It’s a language everybody understands. When we smile, we look friendlier, approachable, and confident. However, if your teeth are stained or yellow, it can hinder you from giving your best smile.

If you’ve noticed that your teeth are starting to look yellow, it can result from poor oral hygiene, age, diet, tobacco use, or genetics. To restore your pearly whites, visit your dentist to uncover the underlying cause of the discolouration.

Causes of Stained Teeth

Tooth stains are either extrinsic or intrinsic.

  • Extrinsic discolouration affects the outer surface and the enamel and is often caused by lifestyle and environmental factors.
  • Intrinsic stains affect the dentin, the middle layer of the tooth. This can also include discoloration in the structure of the enamel.

Yellowing of your teeth can result from a range of causes, and a visit to your dentist can help identify how the staining has happened and possibilities to whiten your smile.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Inadequate dental care can lead to a buildup of plaque and other contaminants that can cause teeth to appear yellow. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, the bacteria in your mouth can form a thin, sticky layer called plaque. Plaque can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and yellow teeth.


As you age, the enamel on your teeth wears down over time, exposing the dentin, the yellowish layer beneath the enamel. This exposure can cause teeth to appear yellow or brown. Aging is a natural, unavoidable process, but regular dental cleanings and dental exams can help preserve the health of your enamel long-term.


Certain foods and beverages can stain your teeth over time, such as:

  • Coffee, tea, wine, and coloured sodas
  • Highly acidic foods and drinks
  • Pigmented fruits and vegetables, like berries and tomatoes

The foods you eat can wear down the enamel and make teeth more susceptible to staining. If you’re worried about discoloration, try limiting your intake of these foods.

If you drink a daily cup of coffee, drink a glass of wine, or eat your favourite snacks and don’t have time to brush after, at least drink or rinse with some water to wash away the bacteria that can settle on the teeth.


Smoking or using any tobacco products can lead to yellow teeth. Nicotine and tar are the primary culprits behind teeth staining, and the longer you smoke, the deeper the stain can penetrate. Quitting smoking is the best way to prevent and reverse yellow teeth.


Unfortunately, some people are just naturally more prone to yellow teeth than others. Genetics can influence the thickness and colour of your tooth enamel and dentin, making some individuals more susceptible to staining and discoloration.

A father and son, both wearing white shirts, hold a toothbrush and toothpaste for their dental hygiene routine.

How to Whiten Teeth

You can preserve white teeth and reverse stains that make you want to hide your smile. With the help of your dentist, you can create a healthy smile that looks radiant.

Know the Causes of Tooth Discoloration

The first step in eliminating tooth discoloration is to identify its causes. Your dentist can identify extrinsic or intrinsic staining and recommend the right solution for your smile.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

One of the simplest methods to prevent tooth staining is by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth. Make it a habit to brush your teeth twice daily for at least 2 minutes.

Use fluoride toothpaste, and don’t forget to floss to remove any plaque and food debris between your teeth. 

Professional Take-Home Whitening Kits

Once you’ve established good oral hygiene and you’re still looking for ways to whiten teeth, consider using a custom take-home whitening kit. You can get custom whitening trays from your dental team to get professional-level results at home.

They contain whitening agents that can help penetrate the enamel and remove surface stains. This method is safe, and you can likely get the results you need in less time than with over-the-counter products. It’s natural to need occasional touch-ups. During your 6-month regular dental appointment, you can discuss new stains or discolouration concerns.

Practice a Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help keep your teeth looking bright.

  • Reduce your intake of acidic and sugary foods and drinks.
  • Drink plenty of water to wash away bacteria and food debris that cause stains.
  • If you smoke, quit to prevent nicotine stains and other oral health issues.
  • Visit your dental team every 6 months for a cleaning and exam.

Achieve a Brighter, Whiter Smile

There are many ways to whiten teeth, but it’s crucial to understand their causes and resort to safe and effective methods recommended by your dental professional at Otara Dental. If you’re concerned about teeth yellowing, schedule an appointment to discuss cosmetic treatments, such as teeth whitening, to help enhance your smile.

Don’t let tooth discoloration keep you from smiling. Take the first step to a brighter and more beautiful smile today.

Written by Dr. Jessica Dick

Jessica graduated from the University of Alberta in 2013 with a degree in Biological Sciences with a Business minor. She then completed her dental education at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas (UNLV) in May of 2017. During her four years in Nevada, Jessica had the opportunity to provide care to a diverse range of patients at student-run clinics. These volunteer clinics served homeless patients, military veterans, and children in need. Treating and getting to know patients of all ages is Jessica’s greatest passion.

Location / Hours

Located Northeast of Servus Credit Union Place in Campbell Business Park

Otara Dental

15 Carleton Dr #102
St. Albert AB, T8N 7K9

Contact Information

  • Monday: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 8:00AM - 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 8:00AM - 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Friday: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

Your Dental Education

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  • Learn More
  • Are You Making These 10 Teeth Brushing Mistakes?
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  • Dentists May Be the First to Spot Health Conditions
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