What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

Do you have yellowed, stained, or discolored teeth? Have you ever wondered why tooth enamel darkens over time? Truckee, CA dentist Dr. Jason Baldwin recognizes that staining is a common complaint among patients and would like to provide some insight into this problem and offer suggestions on how to correct it. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Baldwin online for professional teeth whitening and cosmetic dental treatment or call (530) 206-0392. Learn more about the causes of discolored teeth below.

Stained Teeth Truckee, CA

Why Do Teeth Darken?

Teeth discoloration can be caused by a variety of factors, including:


Most commonly, tooth darkening occurs as a natural effect of aging. As we get older, the outer hard tissue covering our teeth, called enamel, wears away and exposes the darker dentin beneath it. This can cause our teeth to appear more gray or yellow rather than white.


Additional tooth staining can also be caused by certain medications. The most notable of these is tetracycline staining, which occurs during tooth development in infancy and childhood when tetracycline antibiotics become incorporated into the tooth structure itself. This causes a translucent, gray appearance to teeth.


Diet can also have a significant impact on tooth color. Colored beverages such as coffee, tea, and soda, as well as some fruits, can cause teeth to darken with repeated intake.

Smoking/Tobacco Use

Cigarette smoking and the use of other tobacco products can cause tar buildup on teeth. Over time, smoking and tobacco use stains teeth yellow or brown.

Treating Discolored Teeth

If teeth discoloration is a cosmetic concern for you, don’t hesitate to discuss your options with Dr. Baldwin during your next visit. Professional teeth whitening treatments, porcelain veneers, and composite tooth bonding can all help you achieve the look that you desire. All of these treatments can brighten tooth enamel by multiple shades.