Causes of Tooth Discoloration and How to Prevent and Treat It

GSD-Tooth-Discoloration-ImageTeeth can become stained or discolored for many different reasons, including your lifestyle, poor dental hygiene, and disease. This blog covers the common causes of tooth discoloration, as well as prevention and treatment options.


1. Smoking or Chewing Tobacco

Tobacco not only increases your chances of gum disease, it can also cause your teeth to turn yellow.

2. Diet

Bright and dark-colored foods such as wine, coffee, tea, as well as certain fruits and vegetables (e.g. beets, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries) can stain teeth.

3. Poor dental hygiene

Failing to brush and floss on the daily basis or not brushing thoroughly enough is a major contributor to tooth discoloration.

4. Disease

Certain diseases can impact your tooth color, such as liver disease, calcium deficiency, eating disorders, and celiac disease.

5. Medicine

Certain medicine, like antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline, antihistamines, high blood pressure medication, and antipsychotic drugs, cause tooth discoloration.

6. Aging

As you age, your tooth enamel becomes thinner, revealing the dentin underneath that also yellows with age.

Other causes of tooth discoloration could also include genetics, trauma, fluorosis (too much fluoride), and previous dental work.


Changing your lifestyle habits, like quitting smoking and drinking coffee, is the best way to prevent tooth discoloration. You can also prevent tooth discoloration and staining by:

  • Drinking water frequently, especially after meals. This helps displace food particles that cause discoloration.
  • Using a straw to drink bright or dark-colored beverages to minimize contact with your teeth.
  • Following a healthy diet with green, leafy vegetables, nuts, cheeses, yogurts, and foods rich in fiber, can strengthen enamel and prevent tooth discoloration.
  • Following a good dental hygiene routine (i.e. brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time and flossing once a day).
  • Getting a dental cleaning every 6 months.


There are several treatment options available to treat tooth discoloration. These include:

  • Following a good dental hygiene routine by brushing and flossing every day.
  • Brushing teeth with baking soda a couple of times a week.
  • Using over-the-counter products (whitening toothpastes, strips, trays and gels).
  • Professional in-office whitening treatment

Some tooth discoloration is irreversible, in that case your dentist can cover up the discoloration with veneers, crowns, and white composite fillings.

It is a good idea to see your dentist to pinpoint the reason for tooth discoloration and treatment options. Call our office at (925) 705-7093 to learn how you can keep your smile white and bright.

Tags: brushing teeth whitening floss oral health plaque dental cleaning