• Dr. Barry Yu

WHY ARE MY TEETH SO YELLOW AND WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?




Chilly crab, beef rendang, larksa, curry chicken. All these local delicacies are so delicious and yet they can definitely contribute to staining your teeth.



There are three types of tooth discolorations:


1. Extrinsic stains – these are staining on the surface of the tooth. Tobacco, coffee, tea, red wine or any dark/strong color food like the ones we mentioned earlier are going to cause extrinsic stains. This type of stain responds very well to regular teeth cleaning and brushing with whitening toothpastes.



2. Intrinsic stains – these are staining that went in a little deeper below the surface of the tooth. It can be caused by extrinsic stains that was untreated for too long where the stain-causing particles work their way through the exterior of the tooth and accumulate within the enamel. It can also be caused by excessive fluoride use in children. This type of stain will be harder to treat. Usually will require professional teeth whitening products like in-office whitening or take-home whitening by dental professionals.


3. Age-Related stains – As we age, the enamel of our teeth will become thinner due to normal wear and tear. The inner core of our teeth, dentin, are naturally yellow and can also gets darker overtime. When these two add up, our teeth will look a lot more yellowish as we get older.



In order to keep our pearly whites shine and bright, we have to deal with all these different types of stains before they get too deep.


For extrinsic stains, brushing properly is the key. Avoid food that has strong color may also help but that’s not very practical because who can stay away from larksa and curry chicken? But there’s always something we can do to help. Drink some water right after, don’t let those strong color food stay on your teeth for too long. It’s just like your coffee mug, it’s a lot easier to clean it when you wash them right away. Also, go get a professional checkup and teeth cleaning every four to six month will definitely help because there will always be some area we miss when we brush teeth ourselves. Try not to let those extrinsic stains stay for too long.


We all have a busy schedule or some of us just have that lazy moment and we forgot about our biannual date with our dentist. Now over time the extrinsic stains start to get deeper and now become intrinsic stains. How do we deal with this?


We can still get your teeth whiter by getting rid of the extrinsic stains. Going to the dentist for a professional teeth cleaning is mainly for that. We can also get rid of the intrinsic stain by doing professional teeth whitening. There are two types of professional teeth whitening: In-office teeth whitening and take-home teeth whitening. Both types work great, however in-office teeth whitening will be more time efficient because you only need to do it for one hour, versus take-home teeth whitening will take as long as seven days for you to start noticing results.


Teeth whitening can also used to deal with age-related stains by lighten up the inner layer so our teeth will look whiter. They are totally safe if done correctly by dental professionals. If it’s not done correctly, risks include soft tissue damage or even nerve damages.




Contact us at info@ppdental.com.sg or visit us at www.ppdental.com.sg to schedule an appointment for all your dental needs, even dental whitening needs.

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About Authors

Graduated with honors from the University of California, Davis (U.S.A.), major in biochemistry and molecular biology, Dr. Yu has further obtained his dental degree (Doctor of Dental Medicine) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (U.S.A.).  Dr. Yu is qualified to practice in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong, and has over 10 years of practicing experience in the US before starting both practices in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Dr. Chrissie Lam graduated from University of California, Berkeley (U.S.A.) with a bachelor degree in Nutritional Science before earning her doctorate degree in dentistry from University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry (U.S.A.). In her 9 years of practice she took care of her patients, both in U.S.A. and Singapore with her warm demeanor and excellent clinical skills. 

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