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Tooth Discoloration – Treatment, Causes & Prevention

We all know that a healthy smile is an essential part of looking and feeling good, but what if your teeth aren’t as white as you’d like them to be? 

Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many people struggle with discoloured teeth, but there are ways to fix them.  

Various factors cause teeth discolouration. Some are generated as a direct result of specific actions, while some are caused unconsciously or indirectly. This means that they are part of a side effect from consuming something. Factors beyond our control can also cause coloured teeth.

In this article, you will learn about teeth whitening, the causes of teeth discolouration, and how to fix them. 


tooth whitening procedure

What is Teeth Discolouration?

Teeth discolouration refers to changes in the colour of teeth from their typical white shade. It can be extrinsic, affecting the outer enamel, or intrinsic, altering the inner dentin. Causes range from dietary habits and ageing to medications and certain medical conditions. Proper dental care can help prevent and mitigate this issue.

Causes of Discoloured Teeth

Most often, discolouration happens when drinking too much or taking a certain type of drug. Other times, it can be caused by particular high in sugar or salt foods. There are also times when discolouration occurs because of a virus, bacteria or fungus. 

In addition to these causes, there are other reasons why people might have teeth discoloured – primarily if they practice certain dental hygiene habits. 

One of the most common reasons is what we eat and drink. Beverages like coffee, red wine, and tea can cause teeth to become stained. Smoking and chewing tobacco can also cause teeth to become discoloured. 

Another common reason for tooth discolouration is age. As people get older, their teeth often start to yellow. 

The Most Common Reasons for Discoloured Teeth

  • Tooth decay: This is a common cause of tooth discolouration. When tooth decay is left untreated, it can cause the tooth to become black or brown.  
  • Tooth wear: This is caused by grinding your teeth, using your teeth to open bottles or cans, or using them to chew on complex objects. Over time, this can cause the teeth to become yellow or brown.
  • Tobacco use: Tobacco can cause the teeth to become yellow, brown, or black.  
  • Food and drink: Foods and drinks high in colours, such as coffee, tea, and red wine, can cause the teeth to become discoloured.
  • Alcohol use: regular intake of alcohol can cause tooth discoloured.
  • Cannabis use: also called marijuana or weed. It can lead to an increased risk of teeth discoloured and gum problems. 

Bad Dental Hygiene Causes Teeth Discolouration

While most people know that bad dental hygiene can cause various health problems, only a few people understand the direct link between bad dental hygiene and tooth discolouration. 

This phenomenon is called dental fluorosis. It is caused by high levels of fluoride in municipal water supplies (and thus fluoridated water). Unfortunately, most people don’t realise that fluoride is a hazardous substance and can cause serious health problems. 

Dental fluorosis is the most visible form of tooth discolouration, but it isn’t the only one. There are many other forms too. These include: 

  • dental xerostomia: in which the teeth have become so damaged that they are no longer covered by enamel (it’s like having a hole in your mouth);
  • papillary fibrosis: which occurs when teeth become abnormally white;
  • enamel hypoplasia: where the enamel has been damaged; 
  • algogenic staining: occurs when coloured areas are present on the teeth due to weak enamel (this colouring may be yellow or red).

Once you have tooth discolouration, it usually takes several months to go away completely (which is why it’s important to speak with your dentist about what might be causing it). The simplest way to help speed up this process is with regular dental visits from your dentist. 

How do Dentists Treat Discoloured Teeth?

Professional Teeth Cleaning

This is often the first line of treatment. Dentists can remove surface stains that regular home cleaning can’t manage, restoring your teeth’s natural colour.

Teeth Whitening

For persistent extrinsic stains, your dentist might recommend a professional whitening treatment. This procedure involves the application of a bleaching agent to the teeth and can significantly brighten your smile.

Dental Veneers

If discolouration can’t be corrected with cleaning or whitening, veneers may be an option. These are thin, custom-made shells designed to cover the front surface of your teeth, giving them a more classic, white appearance.

Dental Bonding

In this procedure, a tooth-colored resin is applied to the teeth and hardened with a special light. This bonds the material to the tooth to improve its appearance.


For severe discolouration, a dentist might suggest a crown, which fully covers a tooth, restoring its normal shape and appearance.

How To Prevent Discoloured Teeth

While there are many ways to whiten teeth, preventing them from discolouring in the first place is always the best option. Here are a few tips on how to avoid teeth discolouration:

1. Avoid eating or drinking dark-coloured beverages and foods

Some of the most common culprits of teeth discolouration are dark-coloured beverages and foods. The natural pigments in these foods and drinks can stain teeth over time, leading to yellow or brownish discolouration. To prevent this, try to avoid drinking or eating anything that is dark in colour.

2. Practice good oral hygiene habits

One of the best ways to prevent teeth discolouration is to practice good oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly, and using a mouthwash. By keeping your teeth clean and free of plaque and bacteria, you can help prevent them from discolouring.

3. Use teeth whitening toothpaste

If you are already experiencing teeth discolouration, teeth whitening toothpaste can help lighten them up. There are many different brands of teeth whitening toothpaste on the market, so be sure to choose one that is right for you.

 However, most of these toothpastes may contain some chemicals that are pretty harmful to your teeth. Make sure to consult your dentist before getting a whitening toothpaste. 

4. Consider using a teeth whitening kit

If you want to achieve even better results, you may want to consider using a teeth whitening kit. These kits usually come with a bleaching agent, which can help to lighten your teeth up by several shades.

5. Visit your dentist for professional teeth whitening

No one does it better than a professional. If you want to achieve the best possible results, you may want to visit your dentist for professional teeth whitening. This is a safe and effective way to lighten your teeth up by several shades in a short amount of time.

By following these tips, you can help to prevent teeth discolouration and keep your smile looking its best.


If you need assistance from an independent dentist, some other treatments are also available for this disorder, including cosmetic dentistry.

At Mindarie Quinns Dental, we offer a range of dental treatments that can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. 

Our treatments are safe and effective, and they can help you achieve a brighter, whiter smile in just a few short sessions. 

If you’re interested in teeth whitening or any other dental services, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We would be happy to discuss your options and help you find the perfect treatment for you.