Causes of Tooth Stain and Discoloration

By Mina Levi, DDS, 09/11/2015

Almost everyone wants to have a pearly white smile instead of having yellow or brown staining on the teeth. Whitening is a great option for most to whiten the color of the teeth. However, sometimes there is stain on the teeth that needs to be cleaned before the color of the enamel can show through. In this week’s article, San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS talks about the causes of tooth stain and discoloration and what you can do to keep your teeth white.

 Causes of tooth stain and discoloration san Francisco Dentist

1. Staining food/drink. Dark colored foods and drinks like coffee, cola, wines, fruits, and red sauces stain the teeth. Avoid eating a lot of these foods, or keeping the food/drink in your mouth for an extended period of time. You can also rinse out your mouth and/or brush and floss after eating staining foods to keep staining at bay.

2. Poor hygiene. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque and bacteria build up on the teeth can cause tooth discoloration. Also, without brushing and flossing, staining foods and drinks like coffee stay on the teeth and stain them.

3. Tobacco use. When you smoke cigarettes/cigars or chew tobacco, the substances used to make these products cause the teeth to change color.

4. Medications. Certain medications like antibiotics, especially when given as children, can affect the color of the teeth.

5. Age. As we age, the outer layer of enamel wears down and the darker dentin shows through, causing the teeth to appear darker. For more information about how teeth and oral health change as we age, check out our previous article here: AGING AND ORAL HEALTH.

6. Trauma. Damage to the teeth can cause the teeth to die and change color.

If you have any questions about how teeth get stained or what you can do to avoid staining your teeth, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.