Top 4 Things That May Explain Your Discolored Teeth

Top 4 Things That May Explain Your Discolored Teeth

Posted by Dr. Thomas Flavin Jul 31,2020

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Discolored teeth can be a result of poor dental hygiene, habits such as smoking and drinking, teeth trauma, and certain medications. Listed below are the top 4 reasons for discolored teeth.


Smoking and chewing tobacco products can stain your teeth and make your smile dull. In fact, smokers are three times more likely to have discolored teeth than non-smokers. This is because of nicotine, tar, and other chemicals found in cigarettes that cling to the teeth and cause stains. In addition to staining your teeth, smoking can also increase your risk of gum disease and oral cancer. If you’re a smoker who’s unhappy with the color of his or her smile, talk to your dentist about options for whitening treatments, or consider making an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss smoking cessation programs. If you smoke or use other forms of tobacco and want to have a whiter and brighter smile, there’s still hope! There are many things you can do to help whiten your teeth after quitting. These include the following:

  • Drink water to wash away plaque
  • Brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance
  • Use floss to remove plaque from between your teeth daily
  • Schedule professional cleanings and oral exams at your dentist’s office every six months
  • Try an oral rinse or mouth wash each day to help keep your mouth clean and fresh
  • Quit all tobacco use immediately to have a better chance of getting a brighter smile over time

Foods & Drinks

When consumed, certain foods and drinks can cause your teeth to discolor or stain, making them appear yellowed and dull. This is because they leave behind particles that can settle on the teeth surface and cause discoloration over time. Some of the most common foods and drinks that can cause tooth staining include:

  • Red wines
  • Soft drinks
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Berries
  • Sauces
  • Vinegar-based salad dressing
  • Curry

To combat and prevent tooth staining from foods and beverages, it is recommended that you drink them using a straw and brush your teeth after consuming them. This can help to remove the food debris from the surface of your teeth so that they don’t cause stains. Additionally, you should avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking because acidic substances in these foods can wear down your enamel. Instead, you should wait about one hour before brushing your teeth. 

Poor Oral Hygiene

We already covered that poor oral hygiene can lead to yellowed teeth due to plaque buildup but did you know that improper brushing can also lead to discolored teeth? Brushing your teeth too aggressively can cause the gums to recede. Once those tissues are exposed, they become vulnerable to staining. When the gum line is receding from your tooth enamel, it makes the yellow dentin underneath much more visible. Your dentist can help you restore your smile with cosmetic procedures such as veneers or teeth whitening strips and treatments.

Tooth Trauma

If your teeth had trauma due to a fall, or a sporting accident, it could lead to teeth discoloration. Tooth trauma may lead to the teeth appearing darkened or gray.

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