What Causes Teeth Discoloration?

Chris Weber
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But what causes tooth discoloration in the first place?

The color of any material depends on a delicate balance of physical and chemical characteristics. Dental crowns are made from porcelain, so any imperfections in the porcelain will show up as discoloration of the crown. Porcelain is solidified using a powdered substance called feldspar, and there are numerous grades of feldspar. The different grades of feldspar contain a variety of impurities, including many different trace minerals and metals. Because of this, dental crowns may not only become discolored, but they may also become brittle and crack.

Teeth that are stained from birth can be treated with bleaching products, and stains from coffee, tea, or cigarette smoking can also be removed. Teeth that are discolored from metals such as silver and copper can’t be treated with commercial products, and the only way to improve the appearance of such teeth is to have them restored by a professional.

One of the simplest home remedies for tooth discoloration is to brush your teeth as you would normally, but use a natural toothpaste that contains elements to help remove stains.

So why do some people have a whiter natural shade than others?

If you happen to look at the teeth of a shark, it’s clear that a lot of teeth can appear very white in color.

There is a coloring agent within teeth known as dentin.

Dentin is a pinkish shade, and it is responsible for the look of your teeth. Teeth also have a covering known as enamel that is very white in color, as it contains a lot of calcium.

Both dentin and enamel offer a natural white shade.

It’s easy to guess that the whiter the color, the more calcium is contained within. If your diet is lacking in calcium, then the enamel will not be as white as it could be.

The good news is that you can find calcium in a variety of foods. So long as you consume healthy amounts of calcium, the enamel will remain strong.

Can I Whiten Dentin?

When your enamel is intact, you can sometimes whiten it by teeth cleaning but not your dentin. Dentinal hypoplasia (dentin discoloration) is caused by staining pigments, like those found in red wine, coffee, black tea and tobacco.

Dentin is the layer below your enamel and it can discolor as you get older, earlier and in some cases due to trauma from injury, infection, decay, or other causes.

What causes dentin staining varies person to person but most likely occurs because of both internal (hereditary) and external (diet) causes. This can make whitening your dentin nearly impossible. The vitreous (watery) portion of tooth colored fillings can also discolor over time.

Normal dental hygiene (brushing and flossing) can usually prevent stains from becoming too deep.

Some medications can cause discoloration, but dentists won’t generally know which ones, since you won’t have been taking them until you needed a root canal or crown.

But don’t worry, you can prevent more discoloration or slow down the progression by avoiding foods and drinks that cause your teeth to stain.

Food and Drink

When we post pictures online, we normally don’t think of the impact that food and drinks can have on our teeth. We often post pictures of our favorite meals or drinks – while we’re enjoying them.

We don’t really give it much thought, but these images can have a direct impact on your dental health. We all have friends who have gone through some form of teeth whitening process because of the constant exposure to these foods and drinks.

Here’s a list of common culprits and how they affect the health of your teeth:

Tea: Most of us assume that tea is relatively harmless. It’s the morning comfort drink, and the best companion for a rainy Saturday afternoon. But tea can actually cause some problems. It can stain your teeth, absorb quickly, and cause very quick buildup.

Coffee: Another surprisingly friendly beverage. Most of us believe coffee is better than tea when it comes to our teeth because of its acidic nature. We’d rather have something acidic than something lingering. It’s the least of the evils. But coffee can actually cause quite a bit of harm. It can easily stain your teeth and cause a lot of buildup if you’re not careful.


Some of the most common discoloration that Dr. Ruggieri sees in patients is caused by cigarette or pipe smoke. When patients drink coffee or tea, the stain can be exacerbated. The chemical compounds found in cigarettes and smoke can have a corrosive effect on your tooth enamel.

Over time, the enamel will become less protective, and the underlying layer of dentin can become exposed.

If you are worried that your coffee and cigarette drinking has hurt your teeth, speak to your dentist about treatment.

A good dentist will perform an evaluation to assess whether your teeth have become stained a different color.

Your dentist may choose to apply several different means from gels to chelating agents to remove the stains and enamel.

Your dentist will also be able to advise you about using a whitening toothpaste versus a bleaching solution.

The process of using a whitening toothpaste can take up to a year, and people often find that they need to be patient.

By using a bleaching solution, which can be purchased through your dentist, you can see results in as little as two weeks.

If your teeth are already beyond repair, many dentists offer tooth-colored fillings that will make your teeth look even and white.

Dental Hygiene

To start, there are many things that can cause dental discoloration in pets, but most of them indicate that the pet might have bad dental hygiene. If you take your pet to the vet and they find discoloration, they will most likely tell you that you need to improve the cleaning habits to avoid the discoloration.

There are a few different ways to deal the discoloration. You can help your pet get a better mouth cleaning schedule, which will help lower the risk of developing decays.

Or you can go to the vet and eliminate bad bacteria from your pet’s mouth. The first step is to floss their teeth, and the second step is to get a toothbrush/toothpaste.

When they have dental discoloration, the best toothpaste to use is a pet toothpaste. These toothpastes already have enzymes that will kill bad bacteria and break down food that gets stuck in the mouth. They also have minor ingredients that help lower inflammation.

One of the most common places to find discoloration are in the front teeth. This gives your pet more risk for developing dental decay, which is also a contributor to discoloration.

They can also get this discoloration in their back teeth, especially if they have chew things in the back of their mouth. Most pets have a small space in between their back teeth, but some pets can have more shallow spaces.

Health Issues

Discoloration of teeth is a common condition among people of all ages, but the cause and treatment may vary. Discoloration of the teeth can be caused by a variety of mishaps or situations.

The first question to ask yourself is whether this discoloration is natural or unnatural.

Natural discoloration includes discoloration from birth or aging. This is completely normal, but it may make the teeth less healthy.

Discoloration from teeth grinding and nail polish use are also natural causes of discoloration.

Unnatural discoloration can result from health issues, medication use, or by eating certain foods. So it’s important to track down the original cause of the discoloration, if possible.

Primary causes of tooth discoloration are:

Aging: As we mature from children to adults, the enamel layer that covers the teeth darkens. This natural discoloration can also result from certain medications, particularly antibiotics, over a long period of time.

Dental disease: This can occur due to infections, usually cavities, or trauma, which can occur by rough chewing or clenching.

How to Prevent Teeth Discoloration

Many kids have teeth issues when they grow older. Color discoloration of front teeth and tooth erosion are just two of the possible problems that kids encounter when they grow. In most cases, it’s very unpleasant, and kids may even experience heartache and embarrassment due to their discolored teeth.

However, parents may not be aware of the many causes for teeth discoloration and tooth erosion. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent discoloration in kids. In this article, we will review the causes and prevention of discoloration and talk about how to keep your kids’ teeth whiter.

Dental Fluorosis and Tooth Erosion

Ary caries is the most common cause of tooth discoloration. If you have fluorosis, the fluoride in your teeth has soaked. As a result, teeth will become more porous and therefore loss their protective enamel. Discolored and riddled teeth are very prone to tooth decay.

Fortunately, most dental fluorosis in kids occur during the formative stage of the teeth, so these issues can be resolved with harmless procedures such as fluorine gel and bleaching.

There are also many other causes of discoloration. Yellow teeth may indicate high levels of nicotine, while black teeth may be caused by phenols like tannic acid found in black tea or grape juice.