Why your Teeth gets Discolored and ways to prevent it

April 18, 2019 by Salt Lake Dental

Discolored teeth affect your personality the most. It is your smile that helps you to win hearts, attract the attention of other people and socialize with the world around you. Thus, you tend to take good care of your smile and work to make it better each day! But here’s something to be noted. Regular brushing and flossing do not prevent tooth discoloration alone. You need to keep a check on the foods that you consume too!

Discoloration is primarily of 4 types:

               1.Extrinsic discoloration — This occurs when the outer layer of the tooth enamel is discolored.

                2.Intrinsic discoloration — When the inner structure of the tooth (the dentin) darkens or gets a yellow tint intrinsic discoloration takes place.

               3. Age-related discoloration — Such discoloration is both a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. In addition to stains caused by foods or smoking, the enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which allows the dentin to show through. This also adds to the yellowish tint of the teeth.

              4. Other causes – Accidents that may lead to a chipped tooth or minor injuries, can also cause discoloration, especially if the pulp has been damaged.

Foods and beverages are responsible for extrinsic discoloration. Tea, coffee, beetroot, berries etc. Are highly responsible for teeth staining. As a thumb rule, it is often remarked by dental experts that “eatables that stain your white shirt and are stubborn enough not to get washed off, are actually the ones that stain your teeth badly”! Therefore the list includes many other items that we consume almost regularly like:

  1. Soy sauce and tomato sauce
  2. Candies and chocolates
  3. Pickles
  4. Red wine (and sometimes white wine too)

Things to do in order to avoid Teeth Staining and Discoloration

Well, it is quite impossible to avoid every tooth-staining food in order to maintain a whiter teeth. Instead, there are a few other habits that need to pay your attention upon, in order to avoid staining your teeth, such as:

  • Smoking and tobacco consumption is hugely responsible for yellowing your teeth. These habits should be given up as far as possible.
  • Rinse your mouth well with plain water each time you take a cup of tea or coffee.
  • While drinking fruit juices, a glass of red wine or some carbonated drinks, you might use a straw. This prevents your teeth from coming in contact with the liquid and thus staining is averted!
  • Eating acidic foods or too much consumption of sugary foods, turn your mouth acidic. The acids attack the enamel of the teeth which makes the latter more vulnerable to staining and loss of whiteness.
  • Sugarless chewing gums are good for oral health because they help neutralize the acids in the mouth.
  • Get into the high-fiber foods. They can help lower the acid level within the mouth.
  • Saliva stimulating foods such as beans or spinach and other leafy greens help generate more saliva that serves the purpose of scrubbing and cleaning your teeth.
  • Avoid teeth grinding if you are in the habit of it or get yourself treated. Continuous clenching wears away the enamel, making the teeth appear yellowish.

What to do when your teeth go discolored?

Teeth discoloration is resolved either by using the over-the-counter (OTC) whitening products (toothpastes, whitening strips etc.) that are easily available or by resorting to the dentist for professional whitening services. The primary differences between these two techniques are:

  • Professional whitening lasts much longer than the at-home techniques
  • They give same-day results contrary to the OTC products that need to be used again and again for a certain duration of time.
  • OTC products often yield unsatisfactory results as the peroxide levels (whitening agent) in these products are not sufficient, whereas, in professional treatments, you are administered the exact amount of bleaching agents suited for your individual requirements.

Occasionally, one might use a pinch of baking soda while brushing, but not everyday too much use of baking soda is abrasive and might corrode your teeth enamel!

Other factors causing Discoloration!

Unfortunately, there are some discoloration that cannot be easily wiped off, not even with the latest teeth whitening techniques! These are the ‘intrinsic’ discolorations. Intrinsically damaged teeth appear grayish. It could primarily result from factors like:

  • Use of certain antibiotics for a considerable duration of time
  • Trauma to a tooth which could be a sports injury during the childhood days etc.
  • If your mother used tetracycline antibiotics during her second half of pregnancy
  • If you were born with a rare condition (dentinogenesis imperfecta) that causes gray or purplish discoloration

Finally, calcium deficiency is another cause of teeth discoloration. On the other hand, large doses of fluoride lead to white spots on teeth, a condition that is known as fluorosis. It particularly affects children under 6. Hence, a discolored tooth is not a minor issue as it sounds to be. In fact, if the cause (whether internal or external) persists, the problem grows further and goes on to hamper your lifestyle too! Your dentist in Salt Lake City would advise you to put a stern check on the responsible factors behind teeth staining to deal with the menace of discoloration.


If you live in Salt Lake City, Utah and are looking premium dental services by an expert, then call us today @ (385) 257-9303.