The color of your teeth is subjective and many teeth have an off-white color. Yet, the natural color of your teeth can be affected by discoloration caused by various outside factors.

But what causes tooth discoloration and dental stains and how can I prevent them from altering the color of my teeth?

What causes tooth discoloration?

Tooth discoloration happens for many different reasons. The top reason is food and drink choices, but other lifestyle factors including oral hygiene and medication use can have an impact on the color of your teeth.

Dental stains can occur in two places. The first is the surface of the tooth (these are called extrinsic stains) and the second is just below the tooth enamel (these are called intrinsic stains).

There are also age-related teeth stains, which is the combination of both extrinsic and intrinsic stains. Over time, these stains can cause an overall discoloration of the teeth.

It’s important to note that, while some factors can be prevented when it comes to teeth discoloration, many discoloring factors are out of your control. With that in minds, here are some of the most common causes of teeth discoloration:

  • Food and drink. Your teeth have pores just like your skin, which means they absorb like little sponges. When you drink dark sodas, coffee, tea, red wine, and certain fruits and vegetables, your teeth can absorb these colors and cause stains.
  • Tobacco. The nicotine in cigarettes and chewing tobacco can settle into the pores of your teeth and cause staining.
  • Oral hygiene. Inadequate brushing and flossing can lead to tooth discoloration because you’re not brushing away the food and drink you’ve consumed during the day, giving your teeth the opportunity to absorb them.
  • Disease and trauma. Certain diseases and dental trauma can affect your enamel development while in childhood. This gives your teeth little protection against staining. Additionally, radiation and chemotherapy can also discolor teeth.
  • Medical treatment. Tooth discoloration is sometimes a side effect of certain medications including those for high blood pressure, antihistamines, chemotherapy, and antipsychotic medications.


Where can I get more information about teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is one of the most effective, and professional, methods of getting a brighter smile. Up to 82.5% of people saw a noticeable difference after having their teeth professionally whitened by a dentist.

If you’re interested in teeth whitening and other cosmetic dental care to improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile, the Panama City dental services of Dr. Derek Wall may be right for you. To book an appointment or to learn more about our cosmetic dentistry, contact Dr. Derek Wall today.