General Dental Information

Some Causes Of Tooth Discoloration / Stained Teeth

In our last post on how alcohol affects your teeth and overall oral heath here on the Emerald Dental Surgery blog , we mentioned that it could cause staining of your teeth. Today we would like to talk more about some causes of tooth discoloration.

Everyone likes a bright smile. Some people have that but unfortunately due to certain factors that cause discoloration, not everyone has bright teeth.

So, What Is Tooth Discoloration?

Tooth discoloration is an abnormal tooth color, hue or translucency.

Discoloration can occur in three ways

Extrinsic discoloration– extrinsic staining occurs on the surface of the tooth whenever stain particles such as those from food or drinks build up on the enamel. This kind of tooth discoloration is easy to eliminate and even avoid as it responds well to whitening toothpaste.

Intrinsic discoloration- This refers to staining below the tooth surface. It happens whenever stain causing particles go beyond the exterior of the tooth and end up accumulating within the enamel of the tooth. It is harder to remove an intrinsic tooth stain and it would therefore require bleaching or use of professional tooth whitening products.

Age-related discoloration– With time as you age, you will notice the core of your teeth naturally yellowing. When you age, the enamel becomes thinner which allows the dentin to show through. Whenever intrinsic and extrinsic causes combine, they cause more adults’ teeth to discolor as they age.

There are many reasons why teeth can darken or get discolored and we hope this post on some causes of tooth discoloration can be of help to you.

We will in a later post talk about what you can do to keep or get brighter teeth but first:

Here Are Some Causes Of Tooth Discoloration / Stained Teeth

The Foods And Drinks You Consume

Certain foods and beverages or drinks like coffee, sodas, red wine and tea can make you feel great and fresh when you take them. However, they are proven causes of tooth discoloration. In fact, even some fruits and vegetables could cause tooth discoloration.

Use of Tobacco

Whenever you smoke or chew tobacco products, you risk getting the enamel of your teeth stained. Usually when you start using tobacco products, it won’t take long before your teeth gain that yellowish appearance. Chronic use will turn your teeth even darker and they could even start looking brown.

Poor Dental Hygiene

Inadequate brushing, flossing and rinsing of your teeth could also be a cause of tooth discoloration. You should observe proper dental hygiene incorporating an antiseptic mouthwash so that you get rid of plaque and substances that produce stains such as coffee and even tobacco.

Certain Diseases

There are many diseases that affect the enamel and dentin. Such diseases could lead to your teeth staining. In addition to that, even the treatments for the diseases could cause changes in your teeth color. Examples of treatments that could discolor your teeth include chemotherapy and radiation. Infections that sometimes affect pregnant mothers could also lead to the discoloring of the infant’s teeth as they affect the normal development of the child’s teeth.


We have mentioned that certain treatments could cause tooth staining. Certain medications prescribed could also do the same. Examples include tetracycline and doxycycline. These affect children under the age of eight mostly whose teeth are not fully developed. Others that cause tooth discoloration include antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs and antihypertensive ones.

Dental Materials

Certain materials used by dentists in taking care of people’s teeth could cast a gray-black color to the teeth. Examples include amalgam restorations and materials that contain silver sulfide.


As you grow older, you can expect to have the outer layer of your enamel getting worn away. When this happens, the natural yellow color of your dentin will be visible. Your teeth will also lay your dentin more thus decreasing the size of your pulp.  When this happens, your tooth becomes darker as its translucency decreases.


In some cases, the appearance of one’s teeth is determined by their genes. For that reason some people have an enamel that is naturally thicker or brighter compared to others.

The Environment

Sometimes, the reason why your teeth are discolored could have a lot to do with environmental factors. They could include excessive fluoride occurring naturally in water or from excessive use of rinses, toothpaste or fluoride supplements taken orally.


Accidents such as a fall especially one involving a young child could disrupt the formation of their enamel thus causing discoloration.

In case you have any questions regarding teeth discoloration or staining, feel free to contact us on 0700609078 or 0731609078 and we will be glad to help you out. We will fill you in on the process of treatment.

Have a great week.

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