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Help! My Teeth are Yellow


When you see what deeply hued foods can do to your clothing, it’s not a stretch to understand that they can also stain your teeth. Anything with dark tones — we’re looking at you coffee, tea, wine, and berries — can leave behind traces of pigment that change the tone of your teeth. 

But food isn’t the only enemy of your pearly whites.

Here, our team at Dr. Aaronson & Associates takes a deep dive into the surprising causes of yellowing teeth, and then we get to the good news — we can help.

Depending on the extent of your discoloration and the root cause, you may benefit from the Philips Zoom! teeth whitening system, which can erase the stains, correct the yellow tinge, and restore your luminous white smile, or permanent veneers, which cover the surface of your teeth. 

If your teeth have seen brighter days, and you live in or around Midtown East, New York, keep reading to better understand what causes tooth discoloration, then come see us for a quick and dramatic solution.

The color of teeth

Teeth are supposed to be white, right? Well, yes and no. While natural teeth can generally be described as white, there are many shade variations possible, and the shade you get depends a lot on genetics.

Just like eye color, your parents pass down genes that dictate the shade of your teeth. Human teeth generally fall into four shade ranges: reddish-brown, reddish-gray, reddish-yellow, or gray. Keep in mind these are merely underlying tones that subtly tinge your teeth into varying shades of white. But knowing what’s normal for you helps us determine exactly which treatment suits you and what shade we should shoot for.

Things that cause teeth to yellow

We’ve talked about food stains and genetics, but several other culprits can lead to yellow teeth, and some might surprise you. 


Whether you smoke or chew it, tobacco turns your teeth yellow or brown because the nicotine seeps into the enamel.


Certain antibiotics are known to affect the color of your teeth, particularly tetracycline. The medication binds with the calcium in your teeth, resulting in tooth discoloration from the inside out.

Wear and tear

If you grind your teeth — a condition called bruxism — it weakens and wears down the hard white enamel outside of your teeth. This allows the yellow dentin underneath to peek through.

But even if you don’t grind your teeth, a lifetime of normal wear and tear can thin your enamel and reveal the yellow dentin below.

Too much fluoride

You know that fluoride is essential for strong, healthy teeth, but did you know that too much of it can be bad? Excess fluoride can cause fluorosis — yellow, white, or brown spots on your teeth.


If you take a blow to the mouth and damage a tooth, it can lead to discoloration. Even if you don’t see a crack or chip, the force can damage the interior of your tooth and lead to a gray or yellow color.

What to do about yellow teeth

At Dr. Aaronson & Associates, our priority is to keep you and your teeth safe and healthy, so we conduct a thorough exam to get to the bottom of your tooth discoloration. Depending on what we find, we may suggest treatments to improve the health of your teeth before we move on to cosmetic dentistry solutions. 

Deep cleaning with lasers

In many cases, yellow teeth stem from excess tartar and plaque build-up, so we start with a professional cleaning. For tough tartar that has invaded the area below your gum line, we use BIOLASE® lasers to remove the calculus. This allows us to replace old-school scaling and planing with advanced technology that’s more precise and less painful.

Teeth whitening

Surface stains that laugh in the face of your best brushing and flossing efforts don’t stand a chance against the Philips Zoom! whitening system. After less than an hour in our office, you can walk away with teeth up to eight shades whiter.

If you prefer a more gradual transformation, we can send you home with a professional-grade kit that’ll brighten your teeth in a week or two.


Veneers may be the best solution for you if you have stains that run deeper than the surface, such as discoloration caused by medications, worn-out enamel, or injuries. We adhere these ultrathin porcelain shells onto the surface of your teeth to mask the discoloration and restore uniformity to your smile.

You don’t have to live with yellow — or brownish, or grayish, or reddish — teeth. To whiten your smile, give us a call or request an appointment using our online booking tool. 

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