Does Brushing Teeth Make Them Whiter?

This blog post will address the topic, “does brushing teeth make them whiter” and cover topics like why teeth do not become white on brushing, causes of yellowing of teeth, remedies and tips to get rid of yellow teeth and prevention of yellowing of teeth by brushing them correctly.

Does Brushing Teeth Make Them Whiter?

Toothbrushing is not meant to make your teeth whiter but protect them from plaque accumulation and decay.

Tooth color is naturally decided by the color of your dentin. The outer enamel is transparent and thus the color of dentin gives your teeth naturally an off-white appearance.

Over-the-counter teeth whitening products may help to make them lighter but are not considered the best way.

The best way to achieve whiter teeth is in-office whitening treatment offered by your dentist.

Why Are My Teeth Yellow When I Brush Them Everyday

Your teeth are not white even on brushing them everyday because the teeth are actually not perfectly white in their natural state.

Dentin layer is responsible for off-white appearance of your teeth as enamel, the outermost layer is transparent.

Moreover, toothbrushing is not for whitening your teeth. Toothbrushing is essential to remove plaque and food debris and maintain good oral and dental hygiene. 

Causes Of Yellowing Of Teeth

There are multiple causes of yellowing of teeth, categorised under tooth discoloration.

Tooth discoloration is when the color of your teeth change from white to yellow to darker colors, either due to extrinsic or intrinsic causes or ageing. 

Extrinsic causes of tooth discoloration are those caused by objects or factors outside your body. These may include foods and drinks, tobacco use and poor dental hygiene.

Intrinsic causes of tooth discoloration include factors that originate within your oral cavity or body. These may be associated with your genetics, certain types of medications, excessive fluoride intake or any type of dental injury.

Intrinsic tooth discoloration is discoloration within the dentin, has a pulpal or systemic origin and is much more permanent when compared to extrinsic teeth discoloration. 

Some of the potential causes of tooth discolouration or yellowing of teeth are: 

Coffee, Tea And Wine

Coffee, Tea and Wine are known to cause teeth stains and yellowing of teeth.

Tannins, a type of organic substance found in coffee, tea and wine, build up on the tooth enamel and results in yellowing of teeth.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Not brushing your teeth daily after every meal or at least 2 times for two minutes each as recommended by ADA, may lead to plaque accumulation and tartar formation.

Plaque, calculus or tartar causes yellowing of teeth and also increases the risk of periodontal diseases.

Chromogenic bacteria have also been reported to cause stains on your teeth commonly at the gingival margin of the tooth. 

Bad Habits: Tobacco Use

Tobacco in any form causes discoloration of teeth. Discoloration caused by tobacco is not yellow but more dark brown or black. 


Medications like Chlorhexidine, tetracycline and phenolic mouth rinses cause yellow discoloration of teeth.

According to a review published in the International Journal Of Dental Hygiene, Chlorhexidine mouthwash resulted in more significant tooth discoloration compared to chlorhexidine gel.

Tetracycline discoloration occurs below the gum line most commonly involving the anterior teeth, in children exposed to tetracycline during pregnancy or during the early years of tooth development.

Tetracycline also causes tooth discoloration in some adults but these stains are not permanent as in children.

Genetic And Metabolic Disorders

Metabolic disorders like hyperbilirubinemia cause yellowing of teeth.

Genetic disorders like amelogenesis imperfecta, dentin dysplasia and epidermolysis bullosa also result in yellowing of teeth.

Dental Injury

Injury in early childhood may disturb the tooth germ and can be one of the causes of tooth discoloration and yellowing of teeth.

Trauma in adulthood may also lead to discoloration of teeth.

Dental Materials

Dental materials such as composite and GIC lead to yellowish discoloration of the teeth.


As you grow older, the outer layer of teeth called enamel wears and the inner dentin is exposed, revealing an off-white appearance.

Excessive Fluoride

Fluoride in adequate amounts is crucial for healthy and strong teeth.

However, excessive fluoride from environmental sources such as high fluoride content in the local water supply or from excessive use of fluoride containing toothpaste and mouthrinses can cause teeth discoloration.

Orthodontic Treatment

According to a study, tooth discoloration is reported to be associated with orthodontic treatment where the tooth becomes darker.

Initial management can help resolve such types of discoloration.

How Can I Get Rid Of Yellow Teeth?

Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

Daily brushing your teeth at least 2 to 3 times can help whiten your teeth by reducing or removing plaque accumulation.

Visiting your dentist every 6 months will also help you to keep check of all your oral problems and conditions that can lead to yellowing of your teeth.

Take Professional Help

Visit your dentist or dental hygienist and get their help in getting brighter, whiter teeth.

Ultrasonic scaling and cleaning, rotary polishing with an abrasive prophylactic paste, or air-jet polishing with an abrasive powder can help remove some of the extrinsic stains.

Enamel microabrasion along with bleaching can help in removal of superficial intrinsic tooth discoloration that is caused by fluorosis and orthodontic brackets.

In-office bleaching uses a 15-40% hydrogen peroxide solution with careful isolation of the teeth to protect the soft tissues from the harmful effects of the bleaching agent.

Home Bleaching

At-home bleaching is quite popularly known to reduce the yellow stain and help you get whiter teeth.

10-22% carbamide peroxide solution containing custom-made mouthguard can be daily or nightly applied for 2-6 weeks, for best bleaching results.

Whitening Strips And Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening strips containing hydrogen peroxide offer an at-home alternative to whiten the stained teeth.

Whitening toothpastes, containing 1% or less peroxide, are minimally effective.

However, darker stains can be successfully removed using a combination of in-office and at-home procedures.

No Tobacco And Less Of Coffee or Tea Consumption

No tobacco and less coffee or tea consumption will help reduce the stain on teeth produced by them.

How Can I Get Rid Of Yellow Teeth Naturally?

Homemade Toothpaste 

Homemade toothpaste containing 1 tablespoon baking soda mixed with 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, helps to reduce yellowing of the teeth.

A study reported toothpaste containing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to be effective in reducing tooth staining and improving whiteness.

Vitamin C Diet

Some studies have reported vitamin C to reduce periodontitis and thereby reducing discoloration of teeth. However, further research is required to confirm these reports.

Fruit Enzymes Added Toothpaste

According to a study, papain enzyme from the papaya fruit and bromelain enzyme from pineapples play a significant role in reducing tooth stains when added to toothpaste.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar when used in small quantities may prove to be an effective whitener for your teeth.

However, in large quantities or regular use may harm the tooth by eroding away the enamel.

Coconut Oil Pulling

In India, Oil pulling has been practiced traditionally since ages to improve oral hygiene and remove toxins from the body.

The practice of oil pulling involves swishing oil, sunflower or coconut oil, around in your mouth, keeping it for a few minutes and then spitting it out.

Yes it is traditional and now backed by several scientific studies.

A study concluded oil pulling using coconut oil to be an effective procedure in decreasing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis.

Similarly other studies have also found oil pulling to be an effective and safe procedure to reduce plaque accumulation.

As oil pulling controls plaque buildup, it helps to get rid of yellow teeth and give you a safe, bright smile.

Toothbrushing Technique To Prevent Yellow Staining

Here is how you can brush your teeth in 2 mins with correct technique, avoid over-brushing and abrasion and get whiter, stain free teeth:

  • Use a small amount of water to lubricate your brush. 
  • Put a small, pea-size amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush head.
  • At about a 45-degree angle to your gums , place the toothbrush into your mouth 
  • Use gentle, short strokes to brush your front teeth.
  • Brush the outside surfaces as well as the back molars and upper areas of your chewing surfaces.
  • Brush the inside surfaces of both top and bottom front teeth by flipping your toothbrush upside down.
  • Brush your tongue to get rid of any bacteria or plaque.
  • Spit out the remnants of toothpaste, saliva, and water into a clean sink. 
  • Rinse your mouth with cold water and you are done.


This blog post addressed the question, “does brushing teeth make them whiter”. We understood why teeth do not become white even on brushing them everyday, causes of yellowing of teeth, remedies and tips to get rid of yellow teeth. The article outlined the correct techniques of brushing teeth to prevent them from yellowing.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs): Does Brushing Teeth Make Them Whiter

Can yellow teeth become white by brushing?

Brushing can help reduce the yellowish discoloration or stain on your teeth by removing the plaque that builds up and leads to yellowish stain.

However, if the yellowing of teeth is due to any intrinsic cause then you may require bleaching or tooth whitening treatments.

It is always better to consult your dentist or dental hygienist for the same.

You must also give up on coffee and tea and drinks and food that cause staining and give up smoking or any form of tobacco.

How long does it take to get white teeth by brushing?

It takes two to six weeks to get white teeth by brushing, using a whitening toothpaste.

Blue covarine containing whitening toothpaste can produce an immediate whitening effect.

Are yellow teeth permanent?

No. Yellow teeth can be made whiter by a combination of in-office bleaching with help of dental professionals and at-home self bleaching methods.

There are many reasons for your teeth turning yellow. It may be due to thinning of enamel and dentin due to regular and continuous aggressive brushing, or smoking or tobacco chewing, or staining from tea and coffee, or excess use of fluoride.

Why are my 13 year old’s teeth yellow?

Fluorosis, an irreversible condition, caused by abnormal ingestion of fluoride during tooth-developing years, might be a cause for your 13 year old’s yellow teeth. 

Fluoride ingestion in abnormal amounts for a long period of time, damages the enamel-forming cells and causes teeth to become yellow.

Are yellow teeth healthy?

Yellow teeth may be due to your genetics and therefore can be perfectly healthy.

Some people have darker dentin genetically that gives their teeth off-white or yellowish appearance.

However, if the yellowing of teeth has gradually occurred or is due to any injury or medications or may be due to continuous enamel abrasion, then it is not too healthy.

Other FAQs about Teeth brushing that you may be interested in.

Why Is It Important To Brush Your Teeth Everyday?

Does Brushing Teeth Damage Enamel?

Does Brushing Teeth Break Fast?


  1. Manuel, S. T., P. Abhishek, and M. Kundabala. “Etiology of tooth discoloration-a review.” Etiology of tooth discoloration-a review 18.2 (2010): 56-63.
  1. Tooth Discoloration. (2020)
  1. Tooth Discoloration
  1. Whitening Yellow Teeth. Colgate. (2020)
  1. Tooth Discoloration Treatment & Management. (2020)
  1. Natural Remedies. (2018)
  1. Chakravarthy P, Acharya S. Efficacy of extrinsic stain removal by novel dentifrice containing papain and bromelain extracts. J Young Pharm. 2012;4(4):245-249. doi:10.4103/0975-1483.104368
  1. Ghassemi A, Hooper W, Vorwerk L, Domke T, DeSciscio P, Nathoo S. Effectiveness of a new dentifrice with baking soda and peroxide in removing extrinsic stain and whitening teeth. J Clin Dent. 2012;23(3):86-91.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!