Getting radiant pearly white teeth is the ultimate dream. However, it can be challenging to achieve as you get older, mainly if you are an avid fan of red wine or coffee. Even if you are dedicated to cleaning your teeth meticulously every day, you may still experience some tooth discoloration. For this reason, it’s worth visiting a Chattanooga dentist for a professional cleaning now and again.

Still, you may be wondering why you’re experiencing some tooth discoloration despite brushing your teeth and flossing every day. Here are six typical causes of tooth discoloration and how to treat it:

1. Disease and Some Medications

Many diseases negatively impact enamel and dentin, like head and neck radiation and chemotherapy, resulting in tooth discoloration. Pregnant mothers who use tetracycline antibiotics to treat infections may lead to permanent tooth discoloration in their babies.

Some prescriptions, like high blood pressure medications and antipsychotic drugs, can also cause your teeth to be yellow. Be sure to talk about your medications with your dentist to find out what may be causing your teeth to discolor.

2. Poor Dental Hygiene

Your teeth can turn yellow if you don’t commit to brushing, flossing, and rinsing your teeth enough to clear them of plaque and stain-causing substances. Visiting your dentist to get regular professional dental cleanings can prevent your teeth from yellowing further.

3. Trauma

Trauma to the mouth from sports or colliding with objects can also lead to tooth discoloration. Young children may also experience this if they fall and hit their teeth. For this reason, it’s crucial to use mouthguards when playing sports, particularly if they involve contact with another person or object.

4. Dental Materials

The American Dental Association has noted an increase in silver diamine fluoride or SDF usage to halt cavity lesions, which is an off-label use. SDF has an FDA clearance as a desensitizing agent, allowing for the low-cost treatment of cavities, although it may result in a permanent black stain on the lesion. If there are new treatments you want to try, be sure to speak with your dentist beforehand.

5. Tobacco Use

Consuming tobacco, whether smoking or chewing it, stains your teeth. Many longtime users have found dark discoloration on their teeth after years of consuming the substance. While you can switch to e-cigarettes to satisfy your nicotine craving, as studies suggest that this method does not stain teeth, you may experience other problems like gum inflammation and dry mouth, which can also lead to tooth decay.

6. Genetics and Age

Lastly, some people are born with brighter or thicker enamel, which means your genetics factor in tooth discoloration. As you age, your enamel’s outer layer naturally wears away, exposing the yellow color of dentin.

How to Prevent Tooth Discoloration

There is no one quick way to reverse the effects of tooth discoloration. However, you can try many long-term practices to improve your teeth’s color until you achieve the shade you want.

You can use over-the-counter whitening agents to help, but it’s essential to clear this with your cosmetic dentist beforehand. Additionally, your dentist can create a personalized whitening plan for your teeth to address the cause of the discoloration. You can also opt for dental procedures like bonding or veneers, which will vastly improve the shape and color of your teeth.


Everyone dreams of having a brighter, whiter smile, but the journey to achieving that can make it feel impossible. By being aware of the common causes of discolored teeth and the different ways to whiten them, you can work towards a smile you’ll be proud to show off.

Shallowford Family Dental Group is a team of dentists in Chattanooga whose practice dates to 1940. Our four dentists have over 75 years of combined dental experience, ensuring each of our patients a comfortable, exceptional experience. Make an appointment with us today!

Contact Us

Contact us online and we'll get back to you as soon as possible! Thanks!

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt