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A great smile is just one of those things people pay thousands of dollars for. In an ideal world, we would all have the straight, white teeth of celebrities but as reality proves, it actually is a pretty tricky state to achieve.

If you’ve been struggling to get pearly whites all your life, don’t worry— you’re not alone. Most of the time, stained or yellow teeth can be attributed to a variety of reasons from your diet and medication to lifestyle choices.

Ready to hear some of them? Trust us, some of these culprits are going to shock you.

11 surprising reasons that cause yellow teeth

Culprit of yellow teeth #1: Black tea


We all know that sugary sweet sodas can lead to yellow teeth as well as decay, but tea?! Yup, you read that right. Black tea, in particular, is full of tannins that lead to yellow teeth.

And it isn’t just limited to black tea, unfortunately. Green tea and chamomile can stain teeth, too, though they may change your pearly whites to a different hue instead. According to studies, green tea actually gives you grey-cast teeth.

That’s not to say you can’t drink your favourite English Breakfast tea anymore. A simple solution to this: drink your tea with a straw or from a to-go lid. You can also add a dash of milk to your cup! Research shows that just a dollop of milk actually reduces its ability to stain your teeth.

Culprit of yellow teeth #2: Coffee


Coffee, tea or… yellow teeth. Sorry, caffeine addicts: coffee does, in fact, stain teeth as well.

Like tea, they also contain tannins and have an acidic nature that alters the pH balance of your mouth, which makes any acidic foods you eat after damage your teeth more quickly.

The solution? Opt for a straw or drink from a to-go lid. Better yet, cut down on your caffeine consumption if you can!

Culprit of yellow teeth #3: Red wine AND white wine


You’d think white wine would be exempted from this list, but that’s not the case, unfortunately. Both red and white wine contain those pesky teeth-yellowing tannins, with lighter type of vinos even being known to darken existing teeth stains. The acid content within wines also creates little pockets on the surface of teeth, allowing tannins from other beverages to seep in even deeper. Yikes!

Culprit of yellow teeth #4: Bottled water


Don’t go reaching for your bottles of Ice Mountain and Dasani just yet — apparently, during the purification process, bottled water becomes more acidic than tap water, which inadvertently leads to weakened and yellow teeth.

It also doesn’t contain fluoride, which, as we all know, helps strengthen your teeth’s enamel. Yikes! If this isn’t a good reason to save on some cash and opt for tap water, we don’t know what is.

Culprit of yellow teeth #5: Blueberries, blackberries, and pomegranates


Fruits?! Yup, while they may be great sources of fiber and are all around good foods for our body, they can also really wreak havoc on the brightness of your teeth enamel.

These dark berries are actually made out of a compound called chromogens, which produce a stain that’s particularly hard to remove.

We recommend sticking to fruits in lighter colours: think apples, strawberries, or even peaches for a bright smile.

Culprit of yellow teeth #6: Citrus fruits


We’ve been talking a lot about how the acidic nature of foods and drinks can cause yellow teeth, so you shouldn’t be too surprised that citrus fruits are often a key factor behind stained teeth.

The acid in these fruits basically break down your enamel to expose dentin — the yellowish tissue beneath the enamel, hence giving you the appearance of yellow teeth. Try limiting your consumption to once or twice a week instead!

Culprit of yellow teeth #7: Curry


Your daily roti prata with a side of curry might be responsible for your stained teeth more than you think. Sure, it may have a light shade, but a lot of them actually contain a deep pigmentation that can continuously yellow teeth over time.

Counteract this by tossing in fruits and veggies that help wear the colouring off your teeth: apples, potatoes, and carrots are a good place to start. (And no, rojak to go with your prata doesn’t qualify).

Culprit of yellow teeth #8: Balsamic vinegar


Did you know that one of the healthiest options for salad dressing can also be pretty detrimental to your teeth? Yup, and particularly so, because this sauce is strong, acidic, and dark-coloured by nature!

If you have it regularly on your salad, don’t worry too much — the lettuce and veggies help limit the amount of contact it has with your teeth. Phew!

Culprit of yellow teeth #9: Bolognese pasta


That rich, red sauce you love so much may also be responsible for stained chompers, unfortunately. This one has even double the staining potential, with the acidity of the tomatoes and the dark colour yellowing your teeth. Eeks! To prevent your teeth from yellowing, go for other options like aglio olio or carbonara instead.

Culprit of yellow teeth #10: Soy sauce


It may complement your sushi and chicken rice perfectly, but soy sauce can really do a number on your teeth. The dark pigments in the sauce stain your pearly whites like no other, and because we’re often not conscious of how much soy sauce we’re consuming, it may turn out that we’re having it way more than we should. Stick to wasabi for your sushi, and perhaps chilli for your chicken rice!

Culprit of yellow teeth #11: Certain antibiotics and medication

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Yup, apparently, some of the compounds found in common medication can actually stain and discolour your teeth, leaving a yellowish tinge that’s impossible to get out. Always check with your doctor if your medication does cause yellow teeth, but as of now, these are the most common culprits:

  • Antibiotics: Tetracycline (commonly used to treat acne). Expectant mothers should avoid it, especially, as it is known to affect the appearance of their babies’ teeth!
  • Antihistamines: Typically used to alleviate allergies and runny noses, certain antihistamines can also result in yellow teeth.
  • Anti-hypertension medication: Used to treat high blood pressure, a side effect of this medication is dry mouth, which makes swallowing and digestion difficult. This, in turn, greatly increases the risk of tooth decay and staining.

How to keep your teeth in tip-top shape and maintain your pearly whites

Teeth Yellowing Causes Tips Woman With Beautiful White Teeth Source Shiny Diamond Pexels

Source: Shiny Diamond/Pexels

Now that you’re aware of the culprits that are behind your yellow teeth, what are the steps you can take to reverse the unpleasant sight?

Apart from keeping consumption of all the aforementioned food and drinks to a minimum, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t neglect your dental visits. People often wait to go to the dentist until something is wrong, but regular proactive visits are critical.

For most people, every six months is good enough – some can even get away with once a year. But there are others who may need to drop in every three months to get a check. Talk to your dentist to find out what schedule best meets your needs and keep those appointments.

You’ve probably heard of this second one before and yes, it can be a real pain, but flossing really does matter. That’s because flossing helps you clear away buildup – which leads to decay (a.k.a. cavity) – between your teeth.

Teeth Yellow Causes Tips Himalaya Pinksalt Brightening Floral Toothpaste Pump

Another habit you should practise to prevent yellow teeth and keep your pearly whites happy and healthy: choose your toothpaste wisely. Try to avoid sore-inducing ingredients, and go for more natural options like the Himalaya Pinksalt Brightening Mint Toothpaste if you want peace of mind.

One of its uniqueness lies in its infusion of mineral-rich pink Himalayan salt and bamboo salt in the formula. Both ingredients work synergistically with fluoride and a variety of plant-derived ingredients such as magnolia officinalis bark extract to remove plaque by 87% and improve gingivitis 3.6 times better than regular toothpastes in the market.

In addition to boasting 99.9% natural antibacterial properties, the Brightening Mint Toothpaste can also get rid of bad breath and prevent cavities, tar accumulation, and gum disease (periodontitis) while caring for your gums.

Pearl powder is also added into the formula to help you maintain brighter-looking teeth over time. Oh, and did we mention that the toothpaste has a soft snow-like texture that’s a joy to use?

Not only is the toothpaste gentle enough for those with sensitive gums and teeth, but it also comes in a pump bottle format which is really convenient especially for family members to share.

The Himalaya Pinksalt Brightening Mint Toothpaste is available in two variations: a 285g pump and a 100g tube. The pump toothpaste retails for S$16.90 while the tube format retails for S$8.90. You can purchase the Himalaya Pinksalt Brightening Mint Toothpaste at selected Cold Storage and Giant outlets as well as online at Lazada