Surprising Things That Discolor Your Teeth

Feb 09, 2024
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Teeth discoloration can indicate an oral health issue. It happens for many reasons, and some might surprise you. Read on to find out more.

Your teeth are essential for digestion. They break down food via chewing, biting, and grinding. Keeping your teeth healthy is vital for optimal digestion and preventing a range of dental conditions. 

Oral health issues can present in many ways. Tooth discoloration is a change that can indicate something as minor as stained teeth or a severe underlying dental illness.

Some reasons why teeth become discolored could surprise you. 

If you live in Richmond Hill, Georgia, and are puzzled by color changes in your teeth, Dr. Nils Anderson and our dedicated team at Village Dental can find the source of the problem and treat it.

What determines tooth color?

Your tooth is composed of four main parts: enamel, dentin, cementum, and pulp. 

Most people assume that the default color of teeth should be white, but the enamel and dentin actually determine the color. Dentin is usually a pale yellow, and the translucent enamel often makes it lighter, meaning teeth should generally be a pale white. 

Tooth color can change due to extrinsic (conditions that affect the outside of your teeth) or intrinsic (conditions that affect the internal health of teeth). Common discolorations include: 

  • Yellow 
  • Brown 
  • Gray
  • Purple 
  • Black

What are some common causes of tooth discoloration?

Several factors can affect your teeth’s color, including:

  • Food and drink: many foods and drinks can stain teeth, such as coffee, tea, red wine, red sauces, berries, pomegranates and colas
  • Tobacco use: smoking and chewing tobacco cause teeth to turn yellow
  • Injuries: mouth injuries can damage teeth, leading to discoloration 
  • Dental conditions: poor dental hygiene, cavities, gum disease, and plaque buildup can affect the color and condition of teeth
  • Age: as you age, dentin becomes more prominent as the enamel weakens, leading to a yellowish hue

What are some lesser-known causes?

Diseases, medications, and other factors can also lead to tooth discoloration, such as:


While fluoride is excellent for strengthening enamel and protecting teeth, too much can lead to a condition called fluorosis, which results in white or brown spots on your enamel. 

Dental treatments

Some materials used to repair teeth can affect their color, like metal fillings and materials used during root canals.

Health conditions

Calcium deficiencies, liver disease, celiac disease, eating disorders, and metabolic diseases are all conditions that can affect tooth color.


Medications for hypertension, some antihistamines for allergies, and certain antibiotics can cause color changes in teeth.

Cancer treatments

Chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancers in the head and neck area can lead to tooth discoloration.

Experience Our Teeth Whitening Service

To remove stains and discoloration, we provide an in-office teeth whitening process, offering medical-grade whitening solutions to brighten your teeth safely. Combined with practicing optimal dental hygiene and lifestyle changes, teeth whitening makes a significant difference in your smile.  

Make an appointment with Dr. Anderson and his team at Village Dental.