What Causes Teeth Discoloration?

While most of us know that red wine and coffee can cause our teeth to lose their luster over the years, there are a wide variety of other reasons that our teeth can become discolored.

Chromogenic Compounds

As noted, the most widely known causes are known as ‘chromogenic compounds,’ colored food and beverages such as coke, red wine, tea, tobacco, blueberries, cherries, soy sauce, and similar items. The frequency and longevity with which we consume these products have a dramatic impact on the shade of our teeth.


Many people also notice discoloration due to aging. There is a layer of dentin underneath our enamel. The dentin has a yellow/brown color. As the enamel in our teeth changes over time and thins, it reflects light differently, and more of the dentin underneath becomes exposed. This causes our teeth to appear discolored.


Antibiotics, such as tetracycline, minocycline, and doxycycline can cause the enamel to turn yellow over a period of time, according to the International Journal of Dermatology.

Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene causes our teeth to lose color, as plaque and tartar form a thicker layer and add a yellow or tan tint to our enamel. As one might imagine, these surface stains can be amplified by the types of chromogenic compounds that one consumes.

The good news about teeth discoloration is that we have treatments available in our office that can help bring your smile back to sparkling white, including KöR and Zoom! whitening products that have a dramatic effect in very little time.

If you have any questions about teeth whitening or if you would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.

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