Causes of Tooth Discoloration – Ways Teeth Whitening Can Restore the Dazzle to Your Smile

Dental Hygiene

Who wouldn’t love to have a naturally pearly smile? Unfortunately, we experience numerous factors that contribute toward teeth staining that can result in not-so-perfect white teeth. The good news is that you can get the right treatment to get that beautiful smile back.

Teeth whitening is one of the best ways of getting rid of stains on your teeth. Moreover, there are various ways to prevent tooth discoloration, like improved dental health. It is essential to understand the leading causes of discoloration so that you can take better care of your dental health.

Types of Tooth Discoloration

Indeed, there are different kinds of tooth discoloration. Let’s have a closer look:


Extrinsic discoloration is when the surface or outer layer of your teeth, called enamel, gets discolored or stained.


Intrinsic discoloration is when the inside of the tooth structure, called dentin, starts darkening.


This type of discoloration has both intrinsic and extrinsic causes. When an individual starts aging, the enamel begins to thin that allows the dentin to show through. It also results in the dentin yellowing or darkening, which then becomes visible when the enamel thins.

Causes of Tooth Discoloration

There are numerous factors that can lead to tooth discoloration. It might appear as small stains, lines or spots on a tooth, or discoloration of the entire surface. Here are the common causes of tooth discoloration:


Numerous dark-colored drinks and foods include chemicals known as chromogens, which can stain the enamel of the tooth. With time, these stains become more permanent if not taken care of or if the individual has poor dental habits.

Drinks and foods that contain artificial dyes and colors can also result in tooth discoloration. Some examples of stain-causing food and drinks include tea, coffee, soda, and even some veggies and fruits.

Tobacco Use

Tobacco contains particles that get attached to the microscopic pores of the enamel. These particles continue building up with repeated usage and results in discoloration. Smoking cigars or cigarettes, and chewing tobacco stains the teeth and get harder to remove with time.


The bacteria inside your mouth mix continuously with food particles and saliva to create a translucent, sticky film, known as plaque. Flossing and brushing regularly can keep this plaque under control, but lack of dental hygiene hardens this plaque. As a result, it creates a permanent coating, called calculus or tartar.

Only a dental professional can remove tartar using specialized tools. The following factors further increase the tartar risk, leading to stains:

  • Medications
  • Hormonal changes
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking

Tooth decay

Tarter and plaque bacteria feed on the sugars that pass your mouth. They create acids that weaken the tooth enamel. The filmy, thick nature of tartar and plaque results in these acids to adhere to your teeth for a longer duration of time.

The acids start weakening the enamel, making the tooth’s yellowish layer more apparent. The teeth might also start looking yellowing-brown. If the decay is not treated, it gets severe enough for the acids to create a cavity or hole in the tooth. Even the tiniest of cracks and breaks in the teeth encourage the bacteria to enter the teeth and cause decay.

Poor dental hygiene

An apparent cause of tooth discoloration is the lack of proper dental hygiene. Forgetting to floss and brush your teeth causes the build-up of food stains and plaque. It is essential to follow proper dental hygiene and get professional dental cleanings done to prevent stains and discoloration.

Dental materials

Certain dental restorations, like materials containing silver sulfide, can cause some stains or give a gray-black tint to your teeth.


With age, the enamel’s outer layer starts wearing off and expose the yellow dentin. Moreover, this dentin also keeps growing with age that decreases the size of the pulp. This results in reducing the tooth’s translucency that makes them appear darker.


Some families have whiter and thicker enamel. The natural color of the tooth is different for everyone, and some might have darker as compared to others. Some more genetic factors are as follows:

  • Developmental condition interfering with tooth and bone formation
  • Hereditary dental conditions
  • The amount of wear and tear of tooth enamel
  • The way enamel reacts to acids and pigments
  • The tooth enamel’s strength

Enamel hypoplasia

This dental issue is created because of the development disruption causing the enamel to harden and thinning. The contours of your teeth might showcase yellowish-brown, white, or chalky patches. Enamel hypoplasia can be caused at birth or might occur at any age. Some common risk factors and causes are as follows:

  • Tooth damage or injury
  • Fluoride ingestion or fluorosis
  • Exposure to allergens and toxins
  • Malnutrition or maternal illness
  • Bacterial or viral infections, like chickenpox or measles
  • Premature birth or birth injury
  • Insufficient nutrients

Celiac disease

Various dental symptoms can indicate celiac disease, including

  • Translucence
  • Pitting
  • Weak enamel
  • Speckles or patches of whitish, yellow, or brown discoloration

This problem is mostly linked to incisors and molars, appearing on either side of the mouth.


A high amount of fluoride, either from excessive usage (toothpaste, rinses, fluoride applications) or environmental factors (high amount of fluoride in the water) during the tooth formation, can result in fluorosis. It causes greyish or white streaks across the teeth, making them look discolors.

It results in dark brown pits and pots in severe cases. Even though the symptoms of fluorosis are similar to tooth decay, this problem is usually harmless.


Getting hit in the mouth during a sporting activity, a competition, or a fight at a young age can damage the formation of the enamel, causing discoloration. Such an impact can decrease the flow of blood to the tooth or result in nerve damage.

Benefits of Teeth Whitening

No matter what the cause of tooth discoloration is, a teeth whitening treatment can drastically help in reducing those stains. Here are the many benefits of teeth whitening treatment:

Easy and Simple Procedure for Anti-Aging

Whiter teeth give a younger-looking appearance, mostly because white teeth are linked with beauty and youth and also because smiling makes one look naturally younger. We tend to smile often if we love our smile.

study concluded that people guessed the age of smiling faces as younger as compared to the faces with angry or neutral facial expressions. It indicated that facial expression could play a significant role in determining the bias and accuracy towards age. Therefore, a teeth whitening procedure is a simple and easy way of looking younger.

Whitened Teeth Increases Self-Esteem and Confidence

After a whitening treatment, you will feel more confident and smile more often. A smile is the first thing many individuals notice to determine your personality. The whitening treatment eliminates the stains, leaving behind a brightened smile and giving you more self-confidence to show off those teeth more.

You won’t be inclined to hide your smile, place your hand on your mouth when laughing, or smile with a closed mouth. Instead, you will show that beautiful smile with confidence.

Teeth Whitening is Quick and Affordable

When going for a tooth whitening procedure, there is no need to prepare the teeth, unlike with other treatments like crowns or veneers. These treatments can indeed give you whiter teeth, but they are unnecessary if your teeth are in good condition, and you merely need a solution for discoloration.

Teeth whitening is affordable than veneers and crowns and is much quicker. You just have to make the appointment, and within an hour or so, you will be done. Professionally done teeth whitening treatment is much safer and more effective than the over-the-counter products you may find everywhere.

Teeth Whitening Has Little Maintenance

There isn’t a lot of maintenance to do after you get a tooth whitening treatment. You can touch up your teeth with maintenance kits and freshen up those pearly whites. There is no need to keep on setting up dentist appointments.

Furthermore, you can also prolong the whitened teeth by taking small measures. It is best to avoid consuming staining drinking and foods for at least 24 hours after the treatment for the best results. We all have a protective layer on our teeth known as the acquired pellicle, which contains surface stains and gets removed with the whitening treatment.

It takes around 24 hours for this protective layer to rebuild itself. Therefore, it is best to avoid dark drinks and foods, like dark sauces, red wine, soft drinks, tea, and coffee, to prevent any staining. Remember, anything that could create a stain on a white shirt can stain your teeth. It is also best not to use tobacco products at least 24 hours after the procedure.

Teeth Whitening Improves Oral Health

After the teeth whitening treatment, individuals tend to take better care of their oral health to maintain their beautiful pearly whites. They tend to floss, brush, and even get professional cleanings more regularly since they have experienced the advantages of whiter teeth. This improves oral health. Moreover, since oral health is linked with overall health, teeth whitening can even help in preventing many diseases.

The whitening gel used in the treatment has cumulative effects, and won’t work better the faster or longer it is applied on the teeth. You might feel some sensitivity during the process. However, if it gets too uncomfortable, your dentist will apply some desensitizing gel to reduce your discomfort. Keep in mind; your gums might bleed or become slightly tender for a few days after the treatment.

The tooth enamel is different for everyone and may whiten at a different degree or rate. You might get your preferred whiteness level in one treatment or might have to have a follow-up treatment to get your desired results.

Tooth Discoloration Prevention Tips

The best way to get rid of tooth discoloration is to prevent this problem from happening. It is crucial to practice good dental hygiene not just to avoid tooth stains but also other dental issues. Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss at least once every day
  • Brush teeth or rinse your mouth after having food, mainly if you have consumed high amounts of tannins, chromogens, or sugar
  • Rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash
  • Get dental assessments and cleanings regularly
  • Avoid tobacco or nicotine products
  • Always use a straw for drinking beverages
  • Consult your dentist if to determine the right way to avoid harmful habits, like teeth grinding

Here are some of the foods that weaken the enamel causes tooth discoloration, which must be avoided:

  • Dark sauces, like tomato sauce and soy sauce
  • Citrus juices and fruits
  • Dark fruit juices
  • Dark liquors, like red wine
  • Tea and coffee
  • Sugary drinks and foods

There are certain foods that can help in preventing discoloration and strengthening enamel. These foods are loaded with fiber and roughage that scrubs the plaque and bacteria off your teeth. Some of them create a barrier to chemicals or plaque to neutralize the enamel-weakening acids. Here are some of these foods:

  • Nuts
  • Cereals and whole grains
  • Foods loaded with antioxidants, like garlic, ginger, and carrots
  • High-fiber vegetables and fruits, like celery, pears, plums, and apples
  • Fermented yogurts and cheeses
  • Leafy, green vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, and kale


Tooth discoloration is a rather common issue that is caused by many factors. This discoloration or stains can easily be removed with a tooth whitening treatment by a dentist. It is recommended that you consult an experienced dentist to determine the root cause of the problem and ensure there isn’t any other dental concern.

Your dentist will help you find the right solution and help you understand the tooth whitening procedure. If you have any queries, concerns, or if you feel you need emergency treatment, feel free to get in touch with us today.

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