Tooth Discoloration: Causes, Treatment and Prevention Tips

tooth discoloration

Everyone wants a bright, sparkly smile, but maintaining pearly white teeth requires effort. Have you ever noticed your teeth are not as white as they used to be? Or, perhaps they are not as white as you would like them to be? There are many things that can make your teeth dull and yellow, contributing to a loss of luminosity.

Stained teeth not only spoil your bright smile but can also cause other oral health problems. Yellowing of teeth is a concern for many people and thankfully, there are various teeth whitening treatments available to prevent and get rid of stains. It is very important to know the factors contributing to the stain and prevent tooth staining in the first place.

Types of Tooth Discoloration

    1. Extrinsic:

An extrinsic tooth stain is staining on the surface of the tooth. It occurs when white particles, such as pigmented residue from drink or food build up in the protein that covers the tooth enamel.

    1. Intrinsic:

An intrinsic tooth discoloration is staining below the surface of the tooth. It occurs when stain-causing particles work through the exterior of the tooth and accumulate within the enamel. Excessive fluoride has also been associated with intrinsic staining, especially in children.

    1. Age-related:

Age-related teeth stains combine the results of both intrinsic and extrinsic tooth discoloration. Since the core tissue of your teeth, the dentin, naturally yellows over time, teeth will discolor with age. As you get older, the enamel that covers the tooth becomes thinner, allowing the dentin to show through.

What are Some Teeth Stain Causes?

Teeth stains have many causes. Certain food and drinks can cause teeth stains, and there are many other biological factors that cause discoloration, including age and transparency of your distinct tooth enamel.

To prevent teeth staining, it is crucial to know the causes of the stain. The following list can help you identify the cause of your particular stain:

    1. Foods and drinks:

Coffee, tea, colas, wines, and certain foods, including vegetables such as beets, are proven causes of discolored teeth.

    1. Tobacco:

Cigarettes and chewing tobacco can contribute to teeth staining.

    1. Poor dental hygiene:

Failure to maintain proper oral health care is another most common cause of teeth discoloration. Not brushing, flossing, and rinsing to remove plaque can also cause staining.

    1. Trauma or disease:

Any trauma, illness, or disease that affects enamel can lead to tooth discoloration. Treatments for certain conditions, like Cancer, can also lead to tooth discoloration.

    1. Medications:

Certain medications can also lead to discoloration. The antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline are known to discolor teeth when given to children with still-developing teeth. Mouth rinses and washes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium- chloride can also stain teeth. Antipsychotic drugs and drugs for high blood pressure also cause teeth discoloration.

    1. Aging:

As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth wears away, revealing the natural color of dentin.

    1. Environmental factors:

Excess fluoride- either from environmental sources (naturally high levels in water) or excessive use (fluoride applications, rinses, toothpaste, and fluoride supplements taken by mouth)- can cause teeth discoloration.

Can you Get Rid of Tooth Discoloration?

There are many products and procedures that can whiten your teeth and prevent any stains or oral health problems in the future. The options include:


    1. In-office professional teeth whitening treatments:

Your dentist typically uses a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide for teeth whitening treatment compared with at-home whitening products. In-office treatments are more effective, efficient, work quickly, and the results last longer than other methods.


    1. At-home treatment:

Some dentists can make custom trays to use on your teeth at home. You’ll add a gel to the tray and wear it on your teeth for up to 1 hour a day, or as recommended by the dentist. You may need to wear the trays for a few weeks to achieve the results.


    1. Over-the-counter-products:

Whitening toothpaste and whitening strips may be able to diminish surface stains but are much less effective on intrinsic stains that are located inside your teeth. Also, it does not prevent the root cause of the stain or discoloration.

With any teeth whitening treatment, it is recommended to visit your dentist regularly and follow the instructions given by your provider. Also, before using any product or method, consult the dentist to ensure it is safe.

How Can you Prevent Yellow Teeth Causes or Discoloration?

Taking care of your teeth is all about sticking to healthy oral habits. Just a few little changes in your lifestyle will be able to prevent teeth discoloration in most instances:

    • Avoid smoking:

Smoking presents serious health risks and also impacts your white smile. Thinking about quitting? Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation treatment options.

    • Proper dental hygiene:

One of the best ways to prevent stains and discoloration is taking good dental care. Brush your teeth after food or beverages, and drink plenty of water. Mouth rinses and flossing picks are excellent options for minimizing those pesky stains between the teeth that are tough to remove.

    • Regular dental checkups:

Regularly visiting your dentist is another way to avoid discoloration. Your dentist can identify the problem at an early stage and implement the treatment best suited to the condition of your teeth.
Improve habits: Simply watching what you eat and avoiding foods that will discolor your teeth is the easiest way for teeth whitening at home.

Bottom Line
Tooth discoloration is common and can happen for a variety of reasons. With regular visits to the dentist and good hygiene, it can be avoided. If your teeth appear to be an abnormal color despite your best oral hygiene efforts, or if you have other concerns about the color and condition of your teeth, skip the DIY treatments or over-the-counter-products. Make an appointment to see your dentist, instead.

Looking for Teeth Whitening in Roanoke?

Get in touch with us for tooth discoloration or to remove stubborn stains from your teeth. Regardless of the type of tooth discoloration you have, we can provide you with a whiter and brighter smile; call to schedule an appointment today!