Common Causes of Tooth Discoloration

By Rafael Mercado, DDS on November 25, 2020

Tooth discoloration can take away from the smile’s natural beauty or even cause some to hide their smile. Teeth whitening is an effective treatment for lifting dental stains and restoring the smile’s vibrancy.

In order to prevent dental discoloration and maintain results after whitening treatment, it’s beneficial to understand the common causes of discolored teethCastle Hills, TX dentist Dr. Rafael Mercado explains the causes of tooth discoloration and how to protect your smile during patient consultations. For more information, we invite you to schedule a consultation.

Dental Discoloration Has Many Causes

There are many factors that can stain the teeth. When these factors combine, discoloration can become significant and happen fast.

By being aware of the causes of tooth discoloration it may be possible to reduce the risk of stains and keep the teeth looking their best.

The following are some of the most common causes of tooth discoloration affecting patients in Castle Hills.

Foods and Drinks

The teeth are continually exposed to food and drinks. As a result, different kinds of snacks and beverages are the most common sources of dental discoloration. Limiting or avoiding foods that are more likely to stain the teeth can help reduce dental discoloration.

Some foods and drinks are more likely to stain the teeth, especially when frequently consumed. Foods and drinks most likely to stain the teeth are typically dark in color, acidic, or both.

Examples of foods and drinks that can stain the teeth include:

  • Red wine
  • Coffee
  • Black tea
  • Tomato sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Blackberries and other dark berries
  • Candies and sweets
  • Sodas
  • Energy drinks
  • Sports drinks

Poor Dental Hygiene

Poor dental hygiene, meaning not properly brushing or flossing the teeth and avoiding dental checkups, can also lead to dental discoloration.

Poor dental hygiene allows food and drink particles to remain on the teeth, increasing the likelihood of staining. It also allows plaque to buildup on the teeth, which in turn can erode the enamel to reveal the yellow dentin layer underneath.

Smoking and Tobacco Use

Smoking and chewing tobacco use can cause the teeth to turn yellow or even brown. This is cause by tobacco and nicotine particles that get absorbed into the teeth.

Those who smoke or use tobacco frequently often see significant discoloration develop. Even casual smokers may notice gradual tooth discoloration over time.


The aging process affects the whole body, even the teeth. Many people notice their teeth become yellow and discolored as they get older. This is generally caused by the natural wearing down of the enamel. As the enamel wears away, the inner dentin layer becomes more noticeable. Because the dentin is a yellow color, it can make the teeth look discolored.

Discover Your Teeth Whitening Options

A brighter smile may only be one teeth whitening session away. If you live in or around Castle Hills and would like to find out which teeth whitening treatment is right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation by calling our office at (210) 405-1257.