3 Things You're Doing That Are Turning Your Teeth Yellow

Everyone wants a nice, bright smile, and you probably know the importance of good dental hygiene when it comes to keeping your pearly whites clean and white. However, sometimes teeth begin to turn yellow even with regular brushing and flossing, and you may not know why. Take a look at some things that you might be doing that you didn't know could turn your teeth yellow.

Swimming in Pools

There are a lot of reasons to like swimming in a pool. It's great exercise, it cools you off when you're hot, and you don't end up with sand in your bathing suit like you do when you swim in the ocean. However, the news is not all good – if you get too much chlorinated water in your mouth, it could end up damaging your teeth.

Over time, water with too much chlorination will begin to wear down the layer of enamel that covers your teeth, causing discoloration and eventually tooth sensitivity. If it's your pool, you can prevent this from happening by keeping the pool's pH levels properly balanced. The water should be between 7.2 and 7.8 on the pH scale, and it becomes damaging to your teeth when it falls below 7. If the pool you're using is a community pool or another pool that you don't have control over, you may need to limit your time there to protect your teeth.

Eating or Drinking Things that Stain

Certain foods and beverages can cause your teeth to turn yellow. Some staining foods and drinks are well known – for example, most people know that coffee, red wine, and blueberries can stain.

However, other culprits are less well known. For example, if you eschew coffee and red wine in favor of tea and white wine, you may still end up with stains on your teeth. That's because tea and wine both contain tannins, which contribute to the flavor but can stain your teeth even if the beverage appears light-colored. Other stealthy stain-causing foods include soy sauce, curry, and balsamic vinegar.

You don't have to give up foods that you love to avoid stains, but you should try to minimize the damage. Drink plenty of water with foods that you know cause stains – this will help wash the staining substances out of your mouth. Brush your teeth after eating foods that stain, but be careful about timing – acidic foods leave acids that linger on the enamel, and you don't want to just spread the acid around with your toothbrush. That can make things worse. Give the pH level in your mouth some time to neutralize before you brush, or eat a piece of cheese to help neutralize the acid.


Even if you're doing everything right, your teeth may get yellower just because you're getting older. This happens because the dentin – the layer of tooth material underneath your enamel – is yellowish, and your enamel naturally thins as you get older, making the dentin more visible.

Unfortunately, you can't control aging, and enamel doesn't regenerate, so you can't make it thicker once it's begun to thin. However, you may be able to stop further thinning with good dental hygiene, fluoride supplements, and a tooth-healthy diet. Your dentist can help you come up with a plan to halt thinning enamel.

If you're bothered by yellow stains and discolorations, tooth whitening treatments administered by your dentist can restore your smile to its former brightness. Talk to your dentist about whether you're a candidate for teeth whitening treatments.