What Causes Teeth Discoloration?

What Causes Tooth Color Discoloration?

Ever look at a photo of yourself from only a few years ago and ask yourself, “Huh, did my teeth look a bit brighter back then?” We definitely do. Coffee, tea and red wine usually get the blame for teeth discoloration, but several other causes may be the culprit. 

Reasons for Teeth Discoloration 

Spotty Dental Routine

We’re definitely a little biased at 2thbar. But if you don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque can harden into tartar, leaving a yellow-brown color along your gums. 


Some of the foods we hold dearest to our heart, at least at 2thbar like coffee on a Monday morning or an apple on a crisp, cool day — can stain our teeth. Besides coffee and red wine, a few of the top offenders include tea, berries, grapes, tomato and soy sauces, soda, dark juices, and white wine. 

Tobacco Use 

Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause a slew of health issues, the least worrisome of which is yellow teeth. That said, it’s one of the most common aesthetic complaints among tobacco users. 

Too Much Fluoride 

Fluoride is a good thing, but like all good things, too much of it isn’t recommended. Consuming too much of it, like in tap water or through dental care products (like mouthwash), can leave streaks across or a brown outline on your teeth. 

Enamel Decay 

Enamel is that hard outer shell that protects the inside of your tooth. But if it decays or doesn’t fully develop, you may see a variety of stains and changes, including pits, white spots, or yellow-brown streaks. If you suspect decay, schedule an appointment with us at 2thbar as soon as possible. 


Below the hard, white outer shell of your teeth (enamel) is a softer area called dentin. Over time, the outer enamel layer gets thinner with wear and brushing and more of the yellowish dentin shows through.


If you’ve been hit in the mouth, your teeth may change color because it reacts to an injury by laying down more dentin, which is a darker layer under the enamel.


Tooth darkening can be a side effect of certain antihistamines, antipsychotics and high blood pressure medications. Young children who are exposed to antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline when their teeth are forming (either in the womb or as a baby) may have discoloration of their adult teeth later in life. Chemotherapy and head and neck radiation can also darken teeth.

What Helps Prevent Stains 

Pardon our sounding like a broken record, but generally, the one great way to prevent teeth discoloration is to take exquisite care of your teeth and your health. Here are some of our favorite measures you can take right away to keep your teeth bright: 

  • Brush after eating or drinking 
  • Floss daily
  • Pass on the sugary foods and drinks 
  • Add calcium to your diet
  • Nix any tobacco use
  • Drink with a straw. This can help keep stains away when you drink soda, juice, or iced coffee, or tea. The liquid won’t get near the visible front surfaces of your teeth.
  • Have your teeth professionally cleaned regularly.  It will keep your mouth healthy and give you a brighter smile.

We Can Help Too 

If you need some help adding more sparkle to your smile, we’re here for you, too. We offer a number of teeth whitening services, including GLO Science Professional Chairside Whitening and the GLO Science Professional Take-Home Kit. These whitening treatments can be done separately, but when paired together they are most effective to give you your whitest and best results.

Internal teeth discoloration like with fluorosis or tetracycline stains may not respond as well to teeth whitening treatments. In these cases, porcelain veneers or crowns will be a better solution to achieve your whitest smile and can also correct other esthetic concerns like spacing and improve teeth shape, form, and position. 

Your dentist at 2thbar will help you determine the best solution for your cosmetic dentistry needs.

Give us a call to learn more or to schedule your appointment at 2thbar!

What Causes Tooth Color Discoloration?