What Causes Teeth to Stain?

stained teeth

Sciota, Pennsylvania

Everyone’s teeth are subject to staining and becoming yellow and dingy. Several factors contribute to this common dental problem, but there are also ways to minimize stains on your teeth and keep your teeth pearly white for life. Today on the blog, find out what causes teeth to stain and ways to combat this issue so that you can maintain a confident smile. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of stained teeth is to determine the cause so that you can make adjustments in your life, if possible, to minimize stains.

Here are the six most common culprits of teeth discoloration


This is perhaps one of the most common causes of teeth staining, but foods like coffee, wine, marinara, dark berries, and acidic foods and beverages are known to cause stains on teeth. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to avoid these foods. However, we recommend that you limit your exposure to these foods or, at the least, rinse your mouth with water after consuming them. This rinses away residual food coloring or acids that may be more likely to stain your teeth. If you’re able, brush your teeth after eating or drinking these foods or beverages.

Lifestyle Choices

Tobacco use of any kind is likely to cause yellowing of the teeth. The nicotine in tobacco is to blame. So, even vaping can discolor your teeth. Since tobacco poses other health risks, it’s best to kick the habit entirely. Avoid smoking cigarettes or cigars, chewing tobacco, and vaping if you want to keep your teeth sparkling white.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Neglecting your oral hygiene by not regularly brushing and flossing can also lead to stains on your teeth. Everyone gets tartar buildup, a by-product of oral bacteria mixing with what we eat. Then, that bacteria secrete acids that form plaque, which can be brushed and flossed away if done so daily. However, plaque, when not removed thoroughly enough, turns into tartar, a hard, yellow substance that can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. Therefore, stick to seeing the dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkups to help minimize teeth stains.

Medications or Health Issues

Although you may have little or no control over this factor, medications, and certain health issues may discolor teeth from within, known as intrinsic stains. These medical conditions include metabolic diseases, calcium deficiency, liver disease, rickets, eating disorders, and celiac disease. Patients receiving cancer treatments may also be subject to changes in the color of their teeth. Additionally, tooth discoloration may be a side effect of certain medications like tetracycline, an antibiotic that was once commonly prescribed to children and that led to gray or dark-colored teeth.

An Injury

A single tooth may become discolored or gray due to an injury. This could mean that the tooth’s nerve has died, causing the tooth to discolor, although the tooth may still be saved by undergoing a root canal and then receiving a crown.


Teeth change color and become dingy the older we get. It is a part of the natural aging process, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for discolored teeth. If you deal with teeth staining, you can achieve a brighter smile with the help of a cosmetic dentist. Depending on your smile goals, and the type of staining you have, the dentist may recommend teeth whitening or permanent porcelain restorations such as veneers. Chestnuthill Dental offers professional teeth whitening, which can dramatically whiten your teeth. You can maintain your results using an at-home whitening system. For patients desiring a more permanent look or those that also have other aesthetic dental flaws that they wish to conceal, porcelain veneers can give you a permanently white smile. Veneers are thin porcelain shells that permanently bond to your teeth. They should last up to a decade or longer and are stain resistant, so you will never have to whiten your teeth again.

Cosmetic Dentists in Sciota, Pennsylvania

Obtaining a bright white smile is within reach when you put your trust in a Sciota cosmetic dentist like the ones at Chestnuthill Dental. Before deciding on the best treatment for you, we recommend scheduling a consultation so that we can discuss your smile goals and help you determine whether teeth whitening or veneers are appropriate for your case. To learn more or schedule your consultation, contact Chestnuthill Dental today by calling (570) 402-4001.

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