6 Top Things That Cause Tooth Discoloration and What You Can Do About it


Who doesn’t want a bright, white smile? We all do. Unfortunately, as we get older and as a result of wear and tear, the foods we eat, and just the natural progression of things, our teeth can start to lose their white luster. When you have stained teeth or tooth discoloration of some kind, it’s only natural that you begin to smile less or hide your teeth behind your lips.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to get whiter teeth so that you can feel like smiling again. Read on to understand what causes tooth discoloration and what you can do about it.

What causes tooth discoloration?

Understanding what causes tooth discoloration in the first place is one of the first things to do when determining how to get a brighter and whiter smile.

1. Tea and Coffee

Many people mistakenly assume that only coffee stains teeth. However, tea is also a well-known culprit for causing brown teeth. Coffee and tea both contain tannins. When those tannins build up on your dental enamel, they cover the natural whiter color. As a result, your teeth start to discolor. And, be warned, some black teas are even worse for your teeth color than coffee.

2. Dark Sodas and Red Wine

The intense pigments in red wine love to work their way into those porous tooth surfaces, leaving that dark hue that can stain your teeth in just a few sips. The brown pigments in dark sodas are also highly likely to stain your teeth, especially when consumed often. Red wine has tannins similar to those in coffee and tea, so be sure to drink plenty of water to wash those tannins and pigments away when drinking red wine.

3. Fruits and Vegetables

Though most fruits and vegetables are tooth-friendly, some can be problematic for your teeth if you overindulge. While fruits like blueberries and strawberries are incredibly rich in vitamin C, potassium and vitamin A, they can stain your teeth, as can

blackberries, cherries, and pomegranates, and vegetables like tomato in pasta sauces and beetroot. Fruits like white cranberries, white or green grapes, and apples are less likely to cause stains, but they contain high quantities of acid that can weaken and soften your enamel.

So what’s someone to do when these fruits are good for your body but bad for your teeth? The best thing to do is to accompany your fruits with a glass of water. Then, brush your teeth about 30 minutes after eating them to rinse away those staining components.

4. Medications

Our doctors prescribe medications to help us feel better when we’re sick and to treat chronic conditions, and we must take our medications as prescribed. But, unfortunately, medicines such as doxycycline or tetracycline that we took as children, antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, and antipsychotic drugs can cause a yellowing effect. If you think your prescription is staining your teeth, talk to Dr. Tomasik. Your dentist and doctor may be able to partner to find a medication that treats your ailment and is safe for your teeth.

5. Tobacco

Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco is one of the biggest culprits behind stained teeth. The primary contributor to dental staining in smokers is nicotine and tar. These chemicals seep into your tooth’s enamel through tiny pores, discoloring your teeth. Further, the tar adds a brown tinge to your teeth, and the nicotine, combined with the air we breathe, causes yellowing.

Smoking and tobacco cessation can help stop your teeth from further discoloration and can lengthen your lifespan. If you use tobacco products, we encourage you to seek treatment to help you quit.

6. Poor Oral Hygiene

To protect your teeth and gums, you must brush and floss daily.  Not brushing or flossing as per your dentist’s recommendations can lead to plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth. As a result, your teeth might develop yellow or brown patches. Further, bad oral hygiene can cause visible spots of decay on your teeth.

It’s important that you brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-approved toothbrush and a fluoridated toothpaste, and floss once a day. Follow that up with a mouthwash to rinse away any final food particles, and see your dentist every six months for a checkup.

Preventing Tooth Discoloration

Though your dentist can professionally whiten your teeth, there are things you can do to keep your teeth white naturally, too.

  • If you drink liquids that can stain your teeth, such as caramel-colored soda, coffee, or tea, try not to sip slowly over a long period of time to limit the contact they have with your teeth, or use a straw.
  • Have a glass of water after drinking any staining beverage or accompany fruits and veggies that can cause staining with a glass of water.
  • Quit smoking or using tobacco.
  • Visit your dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning to remove stuck-on tartar and calculus.

Tooth whitening is a popular cosmetic dentistry treatment that can help you achieve teeth that are eight shades whiter than before your procedure. Many patients elect professional tooth whitening when their teeth are more discolored than they would like. If you have severely discolored teeth plus uneven teeth or small gaps between your front teeth, veneers are another great choice to resolve a number of dental issues. If you desire whiter teeth, talk to your cosmetic dentist in Bee Cave to decide on the best treatment plan.

Request an appointment with your cosmetic dentist in Bee Cave, Texas.

There’s no time like the present to obtain a happier, healthier, and whiter smile. Request an appointment with Tomasik Family Dental today to discuss your options for tooth whitening. We look forward to seeing you and your new white smile.