What Are the Top Causes of Tooth Discoloration? By on May 12, 2019

Discolored teethTooth discoloration can prevent the smile from looking its best. For those who are unhappy with tooth discoloration, teeth whitening is a fast, effective treatment that can remove years of dental stains to reveal a more vibrant, white smile.

At Gulch Dental Studio, Dr. Clint Newman offers teeth whitening treatment to lift stains stemming from the top causes of tooth discoloration. Contact our Nashville, TN office to find out if teeth whitening treatment is right for you.

The Top Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Tooth discoloration is a common problem brought on by many factors of daily life. Food, smoking, poor oral hygiene, and the aging process itself are just a handful of the top causes of tooth discoloration we'll take a close look at today.

By understanding what causes tooth discoloration, it may be possible to reduce dental stains and protect the smile's vibrancy and brightness. 

Dark or Acidic Foods and Drinks

One of the biggest causes of tooth discoloration are the foods people eat and drink. Some foods are more likely to lead to discoloration than others, specifically dark or acidic foods and drinks.

Dark foods and drinks can leave their color behind on the teeth, especially when regularly consumed. Acidic foods and drinks can also lead to dental discoloration as a result of damage to the enamel. Foods and drinks most likely to discolor the teeth include:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Dark berries, such as blackberries
  • Red wine
  • Sodas
  • Coffee and black tea
  • Colorful candies and popsicles

Limiting such foods and drinks, or swishing water around the teeth after consuming them, can help reduce discoloration.


Smoking is another top cause of tooth discoloration and one that affects many people in Nashville. Smokers, and tobacco users in general, are more prone to dental discoloration which may leave their teeth yellow, brownish yellow, dark brown, or nearly black.

Not all smokers will have dark stains, but many will have yellowed teeth. In most cases, the more often a person smokes and the longer a person smokes will lead to deeper, more difficult to treat stains.

Giving up smoking and tobacco in general, can help prevent tobacco stains and help overall health.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is another common cause of tooth discoloration. Poor oral hygiene leaves plaque and food particles on the teeth, which can lead to dental stains through enamel erosion. This can expose the yellow dentin layer of the teeth, and leave behind pigments from dark foods.

Poor oral hygiene includes frequently skipping brushing and flossing, not properly brushing and flossing, aggressively brushing the teeth with too much pressure or using a toothbrush with hard bristles, and not seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.

Patients in Nashville can prevent tooth discoloration by practicing good oral hygiene habits such as brushing the teeth for a full two minutes at least twice a day, flossing each side of each tooth at least once a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid aggressively brushing, and scheduling regular dental exams.

The Aging Process

The aging process affects all aspects of the body, including the teeth. With age, the teeth may show signs of general wear and discoloration.

The aging process can lead to a loss of enamel and the exposure of the dentin layer of the teeth. Dentin is naturally yellow. As the enamel thins, the dentin may be seen, making the teeth look yellow.

Dental discoloration is often worse with age not only because of enamel loss but also because of years of exposure to certain foods, long term smoking (for those who smoke), and years of poor oral hygiene (for those who don't take proper care of their teeth).

Although not much can be done to stop the aging process, practicing proper oral hygiene at every age, avoiding foods that are more likely to stain, and not smoking are all ways to reduce tooth discoloration over time.

Find Out if Teeth Whitening Is Right for You

If tooth discoloration is causing you to hide your smile, professional teeth whitening from Dr. Newman may help. To find out if you're a candidate, or to learn about other treatment options, please call (615) 334-0184 to schedule a consultation.

Related to This

Gulch Dental Studio Team

Gulch Dental Studio

Gulch Dental Studio is a state-of-the-art practice utilizing the latest technology and techniques to enhance your smile. We offer a range of services, including:

Book an appointment by requesting a consultation online or by calling our Nashville office at (615) 953-3068 today.

Contact Us Today

Rate, Review & Explore

Social Accounts Sprite
Google map image of our location in 224 11th Ave S  Nashville, TN

Nashville Office

224 11th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203

Open Today 8:00am - 3:00pm

Tell us a bit about yourself...

(615) 953-3068 Send a message