Why are my teeth yellow when I brush them every day?

Brushing your teeth is a good sign of oral health and the most beneficial thing you can do to keep them white. Though, you might find yourself asking “why are my teeth yellow when I brush them every day?“. When you brush your teeth, you clean the surface of your tooth and keep the harmful bacteria away from your mouth against tooth decay. Even if you brush your teeth every day, what causes yellow teeth? The answer to your question is the difference between external and internal stains.

We gathered all the information you need about staining and we also prepared a useful list for you. There you will find some extra whitening options other than brushing.

So, shall we begin with the first question mark in your head?

Understanding the differences between stains

There are two different ways of seeing your teeth stained. It can be either extrinsic stains or intrinsic stains. External stains are the ones that you can get rid of easily just by brushing them, though sometimes they can be stubborn too. Intrinsic stains on the other hand affect your outer layer color internally and can be seen in deeper layers too like your dentin.

Enamel is the first cover of your teeth, where the toothbrush touches. If your teeth still look discolored after brushing, the reason behind it might be your enamel itself. Enamel can be damaged by erosion which makes it more susceptible to stains and creates little holes hosting stains easily. When the enamel is eroded so badly, in its thinnest form your inner layer can be seen, dentin.

Dentin has a natural yellow color. So, if your enamel is transparent enough to show your dentin, your teeth look yellow even if you brush them every day. Basically, if your teeth are stained externally, it is possible to clean them with regular toothbrushing, or some extra options might be needed. However, if the staining is internal, it will be less likely that you get rid of it by yourself.

External Staining ReasonsExplanations
Poor oral hygiene habitsBrushing vigorously and not following a routine
Foods and drinksAcidic and tannin including foods
SmokingThe chemicals inside the cigars
Internal Staining ReasonsExplanations
The natural color of teethAging and genetics make your teeth yellow
MedicationsSome antibiotics have teeth discoloration side effects

What causes yellow teeth even if I brush them every day

Your teeth might be stained because of lots of different reasons. Most of the time we think that toothbrushing is enough to have white pearly teeth, but it is not the case. Some staining agents, our habits, and even the medicines we use might have a discoloring effect on teeth which is hard to get rid of by brushing. 

Poor oral hygiene habit: Apparently, you need to brush your teeth twice a day

Yes, it’s good for you to keep brushing your teeth but have you ever wondered if you are doing it correctly? If you are asking “why are my teeth yellow when I brush them every day” you might be brushing your teeth wrong. Besides brushing is not enough by itself to get the stains out of your teeth there are some other methods, such as flossing and mouthwash.

We prepared a “think before brushing” list for you here:

  • Make sure you brush routinely: The basic recommendation for brushing amount is twice a day. Do not think brushing is not working! The moment you stop brushing it will worsen the scenario. Even one day of postponing might cause stains that are hard to get rid of.
  • Brush your teeth gently: Opposite to what you believe, if you brush your teeth vigorously it won’t make them whiter. If you brush your teeth harshly, you might erode your enamel which will reveal the yellowish color of the dentin. 
  • Rinse with mouthwash: Besides brushing your teeth adding mouthwash to your daily hygiene routine will make your teeth whiter. Using mouthwash once a day will be more than enough. A hydrogen peroxide-added mouthwash will improve its efficiency for whiter teeth.
  • Brush your tongue too: Brushing your tongue will improve your general oral health and give you better protection against bacteria and plaques. These are stain-maker agents that you should beware of.

Food and drinks: Who thought of that?

Things you eat and drink are largely responsible for your teeth’ discoloration. Whatever you eat or drink leaves some particles in your mouth. Some of them are less likely to leave your teeth alone and even make your teeth. Basically, there are three elements that stain your teeth. These are chromogen and tannins, acids.

Foods that have a high potential for staining and leave hard-to-remove stains are:

  • Tea and coffee: High in tannins and acidic levels coffees and teas are your stain makers. Tannins are especially high in black tea. When you consume tea and coffee for a long time they will eventually cause more than surface stains that you cannot easily get rid of.
  • Wine: Wine with its grape ingredient is so high in tannin amounts. Especially red wine is known to cause the most discoloration in your teeth to get rid of.
  • Vinegar: A caesar salad with balsamic vinegar is a perfect combination, but for your yellow teeth. The acidic level of vinegar causes a deeper level of stains which is hard to get rid of.
  • Some of the fruits: Grapes, pomegranates, and berries might sound delicious but you need to be careful while consuming them. They have a high potential of staining your teeth on a deeper level.

Smoking: The elephant in the room

When you smoke your teeth are exposed to discoloring matters of tar and nicotine. Both of them make your teeth turn yellow and a darker color in time. 

Brushing only cleans the surface of your teeth while smoking stains a bit deeper than the surface. That is why you are asking “why are my teeth yellow when I brush them every day?” if you are a smoker. You need to do more than brush your teeth like using over-the-counter products or office cleaning. 

Your teeth are yellow inside

Don’t be surprised or feel bad about this truth, but your teeth might be in their best condition right now. Some people have whiter teeth and some others have yellow-colored teeth. You cannot choose it or change it if you are born with it. Besides your teeth also get more yellow color when you age. The reason behind this truth is your enamel thickness. Let’s see what else makes your teeth yellow inside.

The natural color of your teeth: can they be naturally yellow?

There are two different layers on your teeth. The first is enamel and the second is dentin. Enamel is made up of calcium phosphate and basically, it makes your teeth whiter. Dentin, on the other hand, has a yellowish color. When your white enamel cover is not dense enough to hide dentin inside, your teeth look yellow. The enamel cover is generally affected by two natural reasons: genetic factors and aging. They play an important role in your teeth’ color.

  • Aging factor: When we get older we lose the pearly white color of our teeth. With long-term use, the teeth are likely to lose most of their enamel thickness and look yellow.
  • Genetic factors: Genetics has an enormous impact on the teeth’ color. The enamels are also inherited by your ancestors. The thickness and the color are the factors that come with these inherited genes. That means your teeth might look yellow even if you brush them every day. 

Medications: You didn’t see that coming, right?

Other than any other reasons for your teeth to be yellow, medications can also answer your question “why are my teeth yellow when I brush them every day”. Some medications have “tooth discoloration” as a side effect in their prospectuses. And some others might give you dry mouth syndrome.

Tetracycline is the most known drug for causing tooth discoloration. Other than that some medicines for high blood pressure and cancer also give you dry mouth syndrome. A dry mouth contributes to your teeth’ discoloration even if you brush them every day. It’s because when your mouth is dry your acidic level rises and your enamel erodes. As a result, your teeth look more yellow or discolored.

Is brushing not enough? Solutions to yellow teeth

What you need for your yellow and discolored teeth might be more than just simply brushing your teeth. Sometimes over-the-counter products will be enough for you to regain your pearly white teeth and be cleaned from stains. If you want or need better solutions, you can always use in-office whitening treatments as well. Restorative treatments on the other hand will give you permanent solutions, especially for intrinsic staining. If you don’t want any complicated solutions or use any whitening kits, you can change your diet. And for coffee and tea lovers, we gave some different drinking recommendations. Here, we listed down a very comprehensive how-to get rid of yellow teeth solutions for you.

LevelsMethods

High level of stains

Veneers and crowns

Medium level of stains

Teeth cleaning, Zoom whitening

Low level of stains

Trays, gels, fluoride, UV light home kit 

Veneers and crowns for white teeth

If your teeth are badly discolored because of medicine usage, aging, or genetic factors you can benefit from cosmetic dentistry services. Furthermore, some of the internally stained teeth can only be whitened with the help of veneers or crowns.

  • Veneers cover your teeth and make them strong and white. They last for long years once they are placed, but you need to renew them in time, depending on your usage and material. Veneers give you a brighter smile and they are cheaper than crowns.
  • Crowns on the hand are tooth-shaped cups placed on top of your teeth after they are shaped. You can also benefit from crowns for long years like your own teeth and they are more durable than veneers. They again give back your perfect white and cheerful smile.

Teeth whitening at the dentist’s office

You can always get an in-office treatment for your yellow teeth. These professional teeth whitening methods give you much faster results and are more effective compared to teeth whitening at home.

Teeth cleaning

In-office teeth cleaning is a good solution against plaque formation on your teeth. Dentists clean the plaques, tartar buildups, and some stubborn extrinsic staining on your teeth which is not possible to get rid of with only brushing. When you get rid of any plaque on your teeth, you will see less discoloration. Most dentists recommend getting a tooth cleaning twice a year for whiter teeth because of its oral health benefits.

Zoom whitening treatment

Zoom whitening is a professional whitening treatment option for stubborn stains on teeth. Some of the stains as we said before are tend to stay in your teeth forever. To get rid of these stains you can get a zoom whitening operation which is super effective. You get instant results after a zoom whitening session. 

Over-the-counter products for teeth whitening

If you think you could not get rid of the stains by simply brushing them you can always use some of the over-the-counter whitening treatments at home. Mostly used whitening products are:

Whitening trays: These are tooth-shaped plastic covers that you put on your teeth with the gel. When you wear them you can get whiter teeth than a toothbrush could give you. Be careful while using this method though. Some people overuse it and damage their gums. Follow the instructions with utmost care.

Whitening gels: They are variable and but the common bleaching matter in them is hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide within the over-the-counter products gives you 3-4 times better whitening results than brushing. It could be useful against tea stains and coffee stains. Though you need to use it for a while to see the beneficial effects.

Fluoride: Some of the fluoride-added products help you get whiter teeth. Especially if you tend to eat acidic foods and drinks, fluoride products might help you to get that barrier faster than over-the-counter fluoride products or toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride helps your teeth by creating another protective layer against these external agents. In-office treatment will give your teeth a high concentration level of fluoride for a short time. 

UV light home kit: Some of the over-the-counter products include a whitening light that helps you get better results. UV lights are dangerous in high amounts though these home kits rather have low power. You generally use them with hydrogen peroxide gels. With the UV light home kit, you can get rid of stains on a molecular level.

Changing tea and coffee consumption habits

We know that you cannot give up on your morning teas, or not be able to work without a strong espresso shot in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, tea and coffee make your teeth look yellow even if you follow a routine tooth brushing. We prepared a list for you to reduce your risks of staining without giving up on your favorite beverages.

Ways to reduce staining

Drink it with a straw: It will limit your beverage contact with your teeth and prevent tooth stains
Change your tea choice: Try drinking herbal teas and green teas that are less staining than black tea.
Add milk: The tannins make connections with the fat inside the milk making your teeth less stained.
Steep it less: When you reduce the steeping time it will give you less discoloration with its fewer tannins content.

Follow a healthy diet

Your teeth naturally recover themselves and even make themselves keep white as long as you got the right nutrients in your diet. This is called remineralization. If you think you are suffering from yellow teeth even when you brush them, remineralization might solve your problem as it occurs every day naturally. Your tooth color is not directly affected by remineralization, however, if you are not getting the necessary minerals and vitamins they will turn yellow eventually.

Remineralization prevents tooth decaying and enamel eroding. Both of which are the reasons for yellowed teeth. Make sure you got these foods for remineralizing your teeth in your diet for healthy and white teeth.

  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D is helpful for your bone and pearly whites’ health. Found in dairy products and you can also benefit from sunlight.
  • Calcium: Calcium makes your teeth white surface. It is found in dairy products and leafy vegetables.
  • Phosphorus and Magnesium: Phosphorus and magnesium help you regulate the calcium in your body. Leafy greens are high in magnesium and some dairy products like cheese are high in phosphorus.

If you think you need dental professional help while choosing the best option, you can contact us.

References:

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Karadas M, Hatipoglu O. Efficacy of Mouthwashes Containing Hydrogen Peroxide on Tooth Whitening. ScientificWorldJournal. 2015;2015:961403. doi:10.1155/2015/961403 Link

Haralur SB. Effect of Age on Tooth Shade, Skin Color and Skin-Tooth Color Interrelationship in Saudi Arabian Subpopulation. J Int Oral Health. 2015;7(8):33-36. Link

Alkhatib MN, Holt RD, Bedi R. Smoking and tooth discoloration: findings from a national cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health. 2005;5:27. Published 2005 Mar 24. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-5-27 Link

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