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Lakeview South Loop
Lakeview South Loop

Top 5 Causes of Stained and Discolored Teeth

Posted on August 3rd, 2020 by

If your smile appears dingy, dull, and discolored – you’re not alone. Americans spend more than a billion dollars a year on smile whitening products because they are less than pleased with the color of their teeth. Wouldn’t it be better if we could better understand what causes the discoloration in the first place, and possibly take steps to prevent it? Here we explain the top five things that lead to staining and discoloration and offer suggestions as to what you can do about them.


Using tobacco products, including cigars, cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco practically guarantees your teeth will become stained and discolored. These products contain ingredients like nicotine and tar that are proven to cause staining. Therefore, when tobacco is constantly being placed into the mouth, you will notice brown spots and overall yellowing of your teeth.

The best way to prevent this staining is to avoid tobacco altogether, but if you aren’t ready to give up this habit, make sure to make regular dental cleanings and professional teeth whitening in Lakeview a habit as well.

Certain Foods and Beverages

Our diets are often the reason our teeth become discolored. Beverages like tea, coffee, red wine, and soda all contribute to the staining and discoloration of our teeth. When it comes to food, think about what would stain a white shirt – pasta sauce, beets, berries, and other deeply colored foods are often discoloring culprits.

Foods and beverages that are highly acidic attack our tooth enamel and may cause teeth to appear yellow, grey, or dull. Additionally, consuming lots of sweet treats causes tooth decay which presents as dark spots on our teeth. To lessen the discoloration and damage from foods and beverages that are hostile toward our teeth, enjoy them only in moderation.

Tooth Trauma

Whereas most causes of discoloration happen over time, when it’s the result of tooth trauma, you will be able to link the mouth injury as a cause of the discoloration. If you are involved in a car accident or experience a fall or sporting accident that causes an injury to your mouth, you may experience discolored teeth as a result of the trauma. This darkening is caused by an injury inside the tooth and will require intervention by your cosmetic dentist in Chicago, Illinois.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Another common cause of tooth discoloration is poor oral hygiene practices. Plaque builds up on our teeth every day, allowing stains to form more easily when we don’t take measures to remove it. Brushing and flossing every day not only protects your teeth against decay but helps remove the buildup that causes our teeth to take on a gray or yellowish appearance over time. To keep your smile bright, make sure you brush at least twice a day, for a minimum of two minutes each time, and floss at least once daily.

Old Dental Restorations

Some materials used to fill and restore teeth, especially silver sulfide-containing materials, can lend a dark gray color to teeth. The best way to alleviate this issue is to have these removed and replaced with white fillings and crowned if necessary.

Visit Your Cosmetic Dentist in Chicago, Illinois

The best way to ensure your smile is as bright and beautiful as it can be is to visit your dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning. Your dentist or dental hygienist will remove more buildup during these appointments than you can remove during regular, at-home brushings. Call and book an appointment today.

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