Tooth Discoloration: What is it, Causes and How to Fix

Prevent Tooth Discolouration

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People can feel embarrassed and self-conscious when they smile because their teeth aren’t the right colour. It’s important to remember that no one’s teeth are naturally perfectly white, and it’s normal for teeth to get duller as we get older. As you age, the outer enamel of your teeth wears away, revealing the natural colour of the dentin underneath. This can make your teeth look different colours. Still, important lifestyle factors play a big role in tooth discoloration, and it’s important to know what they are. When your teeth change colour, we call it tooth discolouration. They don’t appear as white or dazzling as they ought to. Your teeth may become darker, change colour from white to another shade, or form white or black spots.

There are several causes of tooth discolouration:

  • Extrinsic, which means that something that comes into contact with your teeth is to blame
  • Intrinsic, which means that anything internal to your body or teeth are to blame
  • Age-related, which happens as you get older

What Can Cause Tooth Discolouration?

Tobacco Use

People who smoke can’t get a break when it comes to their oral health and hygiene. If you chew or smoke tobacco, you are more likely to get gum disease and other oral health problems, and it will almost certainly make your teeth yellow faster.

Tobacco Use Causes Tooth Discolouration

Some Specific Foods & Drinks

Even though they taste good, coffee, tea, wine, soda, and some juices can all make your teeth less white because they are very acidic. Even healthy foods like apples, beets, blueberries, cherries, citrus fruits, cranberries, potatoes, raspberries, and tomatoes can cause tooth discolouration. As a general rule, any food that can stain your clothes can also stain your teeth. This includes candy, popsicles, and other foods with bright colours.

How Old You Are

As we get older, our tooth enamel slowly wears away. This is a natural part of getting older. This can make the next tooth layer, called the dentin, visible. Because dentin is yellow, many people’s teeth start to look more yellow as they get older.

Certain Illnesses

Some medical conditions can change tooth enamel’s colour, making your teeth look different. These conditions include metabolic diseases, calcium deficiency, liver disease, rickets, eating disorders, and celiac disease.

Certain Medicines

Medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and drugs used to treat high blood pressure can all change the colour of your teeth. Exposure to the antibiotics tetracycline or doxycycline in utero or before age eight can have the same effect. The same is true for some medical treatments, like chemo or radiation to the head and neck. Even some mouthwashes, like those with chlorhexidine or cetylpyridinium chloride, can make your teeth look yellow.


Some people are born lucky when it comes to keeping their smiles bright, while others aren’t so lucky. Your genes affect how bright your enamel is and how thick it is, which can greatly affect how your teeth look.


If you fall and chip or otherwise hurt a tooth, it can damage the enamel, which can make the tooth turn a different colour. This happens most often to kids, but it can happen to people of any age.

What Can You Do to Get Rid of Tooth Discolouration?

You can use or do many things to whiten your teeth and get rid of or lessen the look of stains. In general, there are three main types of ways to whiten your teeth. Among them are:

Prevent Tooth Discolouration

In-Office Treatment

When your dentist whitens your teeth, they usually use a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide than you can at home. Most of the time, the effects of in-office treatment last longer than those of other methods.

At-Home Treatment

Some dentists can make trays for you to use at home to clean your teeth. You will put gel in the tray and put it on your teeth for up to an hour a day or as long as your dentist tells you to. You might have to wear the trays for a few weeks before seeing any changes.

Over-the-Counter Products

Whitening toothpaste and whitening strips can get rid of stains on the outside of your teeth, but they aren’t as good at getting rid of stains on the inside of your teeth. However, we recommend that before you try any teeth whitening product, you should talk to your dentist to make sure it’s safe. Some products can make your teeth hurt or irritate your gums. Also, make sure to visit the dentist regularly to clean your teeth. Getting regular checkups and cleanings can reduce the look of stains and spots.

Now that you know what could be causing your teeth to change colour, it’s time to talk to your dentist about how to keep your smile white. A good oral health routine, like brushing and flossing every day and going to the dentist regularly, will help, as will drinking less acidic drinks and giving up smoking. Beyond these basic tips, solutions for tooth discoloration are different for each person, so don’t be afraid to ask your dentist for advice on how to keep your teeth white. Call us today to get the best oral care in Thornhill, Ontario.

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