Help! My Teeth Are Yellow

Are you scared to grin, smile, or eat in public because your teeth are yellowed? There are several ways to whiten your smile and keep it looking great. Read on to learn more.

Do you keep your mouth closed in pictures? Or do you try to cover your mouth when you laugh in public? And do you do these things because your teeth are yellowed? If so, you don’t have to keep living this way.

At Image Dental in Stockton, California, our team provides cosmetic dentistry services, and we can make your teeth bright white again. In this blog, we explain why teeth can yellow and what you can do about it.

Dentin-related causes of yellowing

Yellow teeth can be caused by different things, but structural damage to your teeth is one many people don’t consider. Dentin is a layer under the enamel, and if the enamel thins, the dentin — which is a yellow color — can begin to show through.

Poor hygiene

If you allow the bacteria in plaque to eat away at your enamel, this can allow the yellow dentin underneath to begin to show through. The best way to avoid this is to brush and floss every day.


Another way for dentin to become exposed is from natural wear and tear on your teeth over time. As you age, the enamel can slowly wear thin and let the dentin underneath show through. 


Grinding your teeth can wear away enamel as well. And this, in turn, can also allow the dentin under your teeth to show through and yellow your smile.

Non-dentin causes of yellowing

Your teeth can also take on a yellow appearance due to surface stains. These stains can be caused by a variety of substances, such as the following:


Smoking or chewing tobacco can stain your enamel deeply, making it impossible to brush or rinse away the discoloration. Stopping your tobacco use can be a good first step to a brighter smile. 

Food and drink

Some of the top teeth-staining foods and beverages include:

  • Tea, coffee, and soda 
  • Fruit juice, berries, and red wine
  • Tea
  • Tomato sauces and soy sauces

Brushing and flossing as soon as possible after consuming any of these items can help slow down staining. If you can’t get to your toothbrush, drink a glass of water and swish some around in your mouth.

Brightening your smile

If your teeth have yellowed due to surface staining, then teeth whitening may be able to get your teeth looking great again. At Image Dental, one of our most popular cosmetic treatments is Philips® Zoom! Whitening. 

This is a safe, effective teeth-whitening treatment with two options. One is a whitening treatment at the office. These treatments usually take about an hour, and they can make your teeth multiple shades lighter in a single visit.

The second option is a take-home kit. With a take-home kit, we make custom trays for your teeth, and you wear the trays — which contain a whitening solution — for a prescribed amount of time for a prescribed amount of days. And, over time, the solution whitens your teeth.

If your teeth have yellowed because the dentin is showing through, then whitening treatments won’t be effective. In these cases, we may recommend getting porcelain veneers, which are thin, porcelain shells that we attach to the fronts of your teeth to restore your smile.

When you come in, we’ll give you a thorough evaluation and discuss what’s causing your yellowing and explain your treatment options.

To get started on a whiter smile, call 209-392-5688 or book an appointment online with Image Dental today.

Stephen Nozaki, DDS, MPH, DIDIA

Dr. Stephen Nozaki is the owner and lead dentist at Image Dental in Stockton. He is a dedicated professional born and raised in California's Central Valley. With a commitment to his community, he brings advanced dental techniques learned from extensive education and continuous training from around the world. A third-generation Japanese American, Dr. Nozaki has a rich background that includes international living and a deep passion for both dentistry and outdoor activities. His focus in dentistry aligns with his passion for cosmetics and dental implants.