What Does it Mean When my Teeth Change Color?

Since we were children, we’re taught that a healthy, white smile is the best signifier of dental health and is the most attractive kind of smile to have. Even as adults, this isn’t hard to miss, as TV ads, billboards, and your favorite celebrities and public figures all have brilliant, white smiles to signify that they take care of their teeth. However, that leaves many people wondering what happens when their teeth change colors. Sometimes, it’s a gradual turning of teeth to an off-white color, other times, a more yellowish hue, and finally, sometimes teeth darken to a noticeable black. Below, we’ll detail what it means when your teeth change colors.


For many Americans, drinking coffee, tea, soda, and some alcoholic beverages is a normal way of life. They have coffee first thing in the morning, an afternoon or evening tea, and soda with afternoon and evening meals – or even as a pick me up during the day. At night, they may also occasionally enjoy an alcoholic beverage such as beer, wine, or another light or dark liquor. All of these beverage colors – in addition to the colors found in the food you consume daily – add up to create a sometimes less than dazzling smile. For most people, an off-white shade is common even with regular brushing and flossing. Oftentimes, this does not signify bad underlying dental health but instead something that can remedied by a visit to the dentists’ office for a whitening treatment.


For most older people, yellow teeth are inextricably linked with old age. This is due to a variety of factors at play, depending on age and care of teeth. The most common tooth yellower is smoking, which allows for dark tars to stick to the outside of your teeth. For some, the natural genetic process plays a role in yellowing teeth, and if your parents and/or grandparents had yellowed teeth, this may be a factor for you. For others, thinning enamel over time exposes layers underneath that are darker and marked by dentin. Finally, a diet that emphasizes dark foods, drinks, and liquors, as mentioned above, can have a sustained effect on teeth over time. Although there is no hard and fast reason teeth yellow, you should consult Newbury Park Dental on what it means in your particular case when your teeth change color to yellow.


A tooth going black is almost always a sign of tooth decay. A process that has occurred over years, this means there is likely an underlying dental issue you should consult your dentist about that may require a root canal or other treatment to fix. If your teeth change color to black, you should immediately consult a dentist.

If you have questions about what it means when your teeth change color to off-white, yellow, or black, call our Newbury Park office today so you can make an appointment with our dental professionals who can help you on your journey to great oral hygiene.


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