This article explores how to get rid of yellow teeth and looks at 11 remedies to try at home. We also include the scientific studies that support each of the remedies.
- As the enamel on teeth wears, the yellowish dentin underneath starts to show through.
- An easy way of reducing discoloration of the teeth is to brush them frequently.
- As people age, their teeth will naturally become slightly discolored.
11 ways to get rid of yellow teeth
Here are 11 ways that may help to get rid of yellow teeth at home. These are an alternative to teeth whitening options that a dentist may offer.
1. Brushing frequently
There are various teeth whitening options that can be tried at home or offered by dentists.
This is most important after consuming food or drink that may discolor the teeth, such as:
Here are some tooth brushing, best practice tips:
- brush two to three times a day
- brush for 2 to 3 minutes at a time
- be sure to brush every surface of each tooth
- make circular motions when brushing
- avoid brushing the gums or brush them very gently
- be sure to reach the teeth at the back of the mouth
2. Whitening toothpaste
Whitening toothpaste may help reduce yellowing of the teeth and improve whiteness. These products contain stronger ingredients than standard toothpaste, helping to remove tough food stains.
Whitening toothpaste does not contain bleach but may contain a small amount of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals help to lighten tooth color.
According to a 2014 study, whitening toothpaste typically lightens tooth color by one or two shades.
3. Tray-based tooth whiteners
Some dentists offer tray-based tooth whitening, but home versions are also available over-the-counter. Tray-based tooth whiteners can lighten the teeth by one or two shades.
This tooth whitening method involves wearing a fitted tray over the teeth. The tray contains a bleaching gel and is worn for 2 to 4 hours a day or overnight.
4. Whitening strips
Whitening strips deliver a thin layer of peroxide gel on plastic strips. These are shaped to fit onto the surface of the teeth.
There is a range of whitening strip products available online and instructions for them vary. Most suggest they should be applied twice a day for 30 minutes.
Strips can lighten the teeth by one or two shades. That said, a 2016 study notes there is no evidence whitening strips are any more effective than 10 percent carbamide peroxide gel. The use of carbamide peroxide gel is the ADA recommended method.
5. Whitening rinses
Whitening rinses are another way to get rid of yellow teeth. They contain oxygen sources such as hydrogen peroxide. These react with the compounds staining the teeth, helping to lift them.
Using a rinse twice a day for 1 minute at a time can lead to a one to two shade improvement in tooth color within 3 months.
6. Activated charcoal
Toothpaste that contains activated charcoal may help to reduce staining on the teeth.
A 2017 review found that charcoal toothpastes may help remove external staining on teeth. Further studies are needed into the extent or rate of stain removal that can be expected.
Charcoal toothpastes should be used with caution, as they can cause staining. The charcoal may be hard to remove from the crevices of the teeth and around restorations.
7. Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide
Using a toothpaste containing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide may help reduce yellowing of the teeth. It is possible to make a paste at home by mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide.
A 2012 study found that using a toothpaste containing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide reduces tooth staining and improves whiteness.
8. Vitamin C
It follows that keeping topped up on vitamin C may reduce discoloration of the teeth. More research is needed into whether vitamin C consumption may have a whitening effect on the teeth.
9. Fruit enzymes
When added to toothpaste, certain fruit enzymes may combat discoloration.
10. Apple cider vinegar
When it is used in small quantities, apple cider vinegar may reduce staining on the teeth and improve whiteness.
A 2014 study found that apple cider vinegar has a whitening effect on teeth. It should be noted, however, that this was a study on animals.
Apple cider vinegar may damage the surface of the teeth if used too often. More research is needed into the use of apple cider vinegar, as a tooth whitener. In the meantime, it should be used sparingly and with caution.
11. Coconut oil pulling
A 2015 study found that oil pulling or swishing in the mouth with coconut oil could be an effective way to reduce plaque buildup on the teeth. As plaque buildup can contribute to yellowing, it follows that coconut oil pulling may reduce discoloration.
More research is needed into coconut oil pulling to establish the extent to which it may help whiten the teeth.
Why do teeth turn yellow?
Brushing and using mouthwash regularly will help to reduce the buildup of plaque.
As a person gets older, the white enamel on their teeth becomes worn. When this happens, the calcified tissue underneath starts to show through. This tissue is called dentin, and it has a yellowish color.
Teeth can become yellow for the following reasons:
- compounds that stain the surface
- plaque buildup gives a yellow tinge
- enamel becomes worn, and dentin comes through
The last cause is hard to prevent, as it is a natural part of the aging process. However, staining can be reduced by avoiding:
- red wine
- chewing tobacco
Plaque buildup can be reduced by:
- avoiding sugary or high-carb foods
- brushing regularly
- using mouthwash
It is natural for teeth to become slightly yellow as a person ages and their enamel becomes worn.
Discoloration from plaque buildup can be reduced by regular brushing. Avoiding foods that may stain the teeth is also a good idea.
To lighten the appearance of teeth, trying the home remedies explored above may help. The best way to keep teeth healthy is through diet and a good oral hygiene routine.