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What Is Causing My Tooth Discoloration?

Tooth discoloration is incredibly common and could be caused by many factors. Understanding the causes can help you to avoid or reduce the degree of discoloration. Here is a list of the most common causes of tooth discoloration.

Poor Dental Hygiene

This one is pretty obvious but failing to floss and brush your teeth daily is one of the main reasons people experience tooth discoloration. If you don’t floss or brush regularly, bacteria and food particles stay in your mouth and cling to your teeth. This causes staining and tooth decay.

Tobacco Use

Tobacco use isn’t good for your overall health and can severely impact your oral health. Tobacco users, including those who vape, are much more likely to develop oral cancer, plaque build-up, gum disease, tooth loss, root decay and more. Just like your skin, your teeth have pores. The nicotine and tar in tobacco easily absorb into these pores causing a yellow or brown discoloration. Although nicotine itself is colorless, when combined with oxygen it turns yellow and stains teeth.

Certain Beverages and Foods

Although certain beverages may taste great, they can substantially affect the enamel and natural coloring of your teeth. Examples of these beverages are coffee, tea, wine, soda, and even some juices. Even healthy foods such as blueberries, cherries, and beets can cause discoloration. Citrus fruits and juices are acidic and can erode the natural pearly white enamel revealing the yellowish dentin layer below. A good rule of thumb: If it can stain your clothes, it can probably stain your teeth. If possible, brush right after consuming any of these foods and beverages.


As we age, our tooth enamel wears down and exposes the naturally yellowish layer beneath the enamel called the dentin. More dentin is visible as we get older so our teeth appear darker.

Certain Illnesses & Medications

Some medical conditions can affect your tooth enamel which can lead to tooth discoloration. Genetic conditions such as amelogenesis imperfecta and dentinogenesis imperfecta cause improper development of the enamel and lead to yellow discolored teeth. Eating disorders can cause acid erosion of the enamel and discolor teeth.

Many medications can also be the cause of tooth discoloration. Receiving common antibiotics such as doxycycline or tetracycline as a child can lead to tooth discoloration as a side effect. Antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, and antipsychotic drugs can also discolor teeth. While there are some medications that cause tooth discoloration, these medications may be important for overall health. Never discontinue the use of medication before consulting with your doctor.

Contact Lindner Dental in Bedford, NH

Now that you’ve read the causes of tooth discoloration, you and your dentist can come up with a plan to maintain your healthy, confident smile. While we listed the most common causes above, your dentist may discover a different reason for your tooth discoloration. If you’re looking for a new dentist in the Bedford, NH area, consider Lindner Dental! If you have any questions about our dental care, don’t hesitate to contact us. Give us a call today at 603-624-3900.