What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

Glendale Dentist Serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Peoria, and nearby areas in Arizona

Over time, your bright white teeth can tarnish and become discolored. This is natural and happens to everyone due to a variety of factors. There are two types of tooth discoloration. Extrinsic discoloration is the most common form affecting people. It occurs when the outer layer of your tooth, called enamel, becomes stained. Common staining agents which cause tooth discoloration include:

  • Coffee, tea, and colas
  • Red wine
  • Certain fruits and vegetables
  • Tobacco

Poor dental hygiene practices can make this discoloration worse. Intrinsic discoloration occurs when the inner layer of your tooth, called dentin, darkens. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as:

  • Excessive fluoride exposure
  • Tetracycline antibiotic use by your mother while she was pregnant or by you during childhood
  • Tooth trauma
  • Certain diseases which affect your teeth’s dentin

You can prevent extrinsic tooth discoloration by making certain lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and reducing your intake of staining foods and beverages. When you do drink staining beverages, use a straw whenever possible to reduce discoloration. In addition, adopting a more diligent oral hygiene regimen will help slow the rate of tooth discoloration you experience. Dr. Wilcox also offers several teeth whitening options to help you brighten discolored teeth and restore a dazzling smile. During your initial consultation at our Glendale cosmetic dentistry office, Dr. Wilcox will review these options with you and recommend the ideal one to address your unique goals. If you experience intrinsic discoloration, it is possible that teeth whitening treatments may not achieve your desired results. In these situations, Dr. Wilcox may recommend porcelain veneers to help brighten your smile.