tooth discoloration

What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

Ever look at a photo of yourself from a few years ago and ask yourself, “Huh, my teeth were a bit brighter back then … I wonder, what happened?” It’s important to be wary of some of the things that we do in our day to day routine. Drinks like coffee and red wine usually get the blame for tooth discoloration, but there are several other causes that may be the culprit as well. 

Common Reasons for Tooth Discoloration

Spotty Dental Routine

We’re definitely a little biased here at Menlo Park Dental Excellence. But if you don’t brush and floss regularly, a sticky film of bacteria called plaque can cover your teeth and harden into tartar leaving a yellow-brown, sometimes black, color along your gum line and between front and back teeth. 


Some of the foods we hold dearest to our heart — like coffee, red wines, pomegranate, spinach, blueberries, blackberries can discolor our teeth. Sugary and acidic foods and drinks can stain our teeth as well. Besides coffee and red wine, a number of top offenders also include: tea, soda, candy, sauces (soy, tomato, and curry), blackberries and blueberries, promengrantes,  and dark-colored fruit juices like cranberry or grape juices. 

Tobacco Use

Smoking, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaping machines can cause a slew of health issues, including making your teeth and tongue become brown and stained. That said, it’s one of the most common aesthetic complaints amongst 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 in tap water or through dental care products (ex: mouthwash), can leave opaque white spots or streaks across or a brown outline on your teeth.

Enamel Decay

Enamel is the hard outer surface that protects the inside of your tooth. 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 as soon as possible.

What Helps Prevent Stains

tooth discoloration care

Photo Source: Health Engine

Now that we know some of the causes, one simple and effective way to prevent teeth discoloration is to take exquisite care of your teeth and your health. 

Here are some of our favorite ways you can take action right away to keep your teeth bright and healthy:

  • Brush after eating or drinking
  • Floss after each time you eat a meal
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks when possible 
  • Using a straw when consuming a drink
  • Rinse your mouth with water right after having anything that are listed above
  • Add calcium to your diet
  • Discontinue any type of tobacco use

We Can Help, Too!

If you need some help adding more sparkle to your smile, we are here for you! We offer a number of whitening services such as white tooth colored fillings and bonding veneers, and the Opalescence Go whitening home kit. Give us a call to learn more or to schedule your next appointment with us and make your smile the best it can be!