Tooth discolouration is a relatively common occurrence. When you hear the word “discolouration,” you might picture stains on teeth and a darkening of the tooth shade. Stains can be embarrassing and make you feel self-conscious about your smile. This can make you feel less confident and prevent you from smiling. Teeth are typically flawless white, and while it is normal for the colour to fade as we get older, you don’t want this to happen too soon due to environmental causes.

Below we get into the causes of tooth discolouration and stains. Let’s take a look at the types of staining that may occur.

Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic tooth discolouration happens when the enamel’s outer layer, which serves as your teeth’s protective layer, is exposed to chemicals. This causes the enamel to darken, which in turn darkens your teeth. 

The usual causes are as follows: 

  • Alcohol and cigarette usage
  • Dark beverages, including coffee, cola, and wine
  • Dark foods, including red meat, sugary treats, and berries

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic tooth discolouration happens when the dentin, the tooth’s inner component, turns discoloured. This causes the colour of your teeth to deepen and typically turn yellow. 

The most frequent reasons are:

  • Trauma to the tooth 
  • Physical injury that impacts the teeth and exposes the structure to chips and splits
  • Fluoride exposure during a child’s formative years
  • Tooth decay

Ageing Stains

Age is a normal process that causes teeth to discolour. The enamel starts to erode, giving the illusion of being yellow. The rate at which this occurs can depend on intrinsic and extrinsic discolouration. Also learn about dentures

The following ways that teeth become discoloured because of surface stains are:

  • Yellow – Due to a diet high in dark-coloured meals and beverages, bad dental hygiene, and dry mouth.
  • Brown – Due to tooth decay and tartar from a poor diet of dark-coloured foods and beverages and chronic tobacco use.
  • Black – Sulfide fillings or crowns can cause black spots on teeth.

What Are The Causes Of Tooth Discolouration And Stains?

There are a variety of reasons why your lifestyle choices may be staining your teeth, including:

  • Food and Drink – Natural tooth stains called tannins are found in dark solids and liquids. Foods and beverages that might cause tooth discolouration include coffee, dark drinks, wine, meat, and some fruits.
  • Improper Brushing and Flossing – If you don’t brush and floss your teeth correctly, bacteria from food and drink will build up in your mouth, causing tooth decay and staining. Even after eating, your mouth needs to be kept clean; brush your teeth twice daily.
  • Tobacco and Smoking – Tobacco and smoking can leave behind yellow and brown stains known as tobacco stains. Your teeth will turn dark as a result of these stains weakening your enamel and penetrating deep inside it to the underlying dentin.
  • Sickness or Condition – Any disease or illness that weakens the enamel results in discolouration. Trauma from a physical incident could also play a role.
  • Aging – One common side effect of getting older is discolouration. As we age, the enamel gradually erodes, making the yellow dentin underlying the tooth surface more vulnerable to stains.


How Can I Limit The Causes Of Tooth Discolouration And Stains?

Teeth stains are not permanent if you seek dental treatment. Professional dental cleanings (amongst other treatments) are recommended to begin breaking down those stains to uncover the whiteness in your smile.

Between professional dental cleanings, here are some additional tips:

  • Rinse your mouth after every meal so that food debris remaining in the mouth can be washed away
  • Brush and floss your teeth, especially at night, so you can go to sleep with a clean mouth
  • Consult your dentist on using teeth whitening toothpaste to brush your teeth with
  • Drink water regularly to make your enamel more stain-resistant. Reduce sugar content from acidic drinks and sodas
  • Halt smoking altogether as the tobacco stains teeth easily
  • Visit the dentist regularly for professional dental cleanings

You may also visit the dentist and book yourself in for teeth whitening treatment if you’re seeking a professional touch. If you’re seeking to lift those stains through treatment or want to know more about the causes of tooth discolouration and stains, consult your local dentist in Hornsby today.