O’Fallon Cosmetic Dentist Explains How Teeth Become Stained and Discolored

Written by Dr. Brace on Nov 29, 2011

Our O’Fallon cosmetic dental office treats a wide variety of cosmetic issues, and offers a number of different cosmetic solutions for patients of all ages. What we’ve found, through years of treating patients, is that all patients want a whiter smile. In-office teeth bleaching treatments can be used alone or as the finishing touch on a complete smile makeover. Once you’ve whitened your smile, however, you’ll want to maintain it, which is why so many patients as the question, “why are my teeth becoming discolored in the first place?”

The truth is dental enamel changes color for a variety of reasons. Some causes of staining are avoidable and some are just natural byproducts of aging. Here are some common causes of dental discoloration:

  • eating and drinking—discoloring substances such as wine, cola, coffee, and tea can leave stains on white enamel.
  • chewing or grinding—chronic bruxism—dental clenching and grinding—can cause small cracks in dental enamel. Eventually discoloring substances accumulate in these weak areas, causing dental stains.
  • dental trauma—dental trauma or accident may cause your tooth to darken because it is no longer healthy.
  • poor oral hygiene—plaque and tartar make dental enamel appear yellow or brown. If you are not cleaning plaque off of your daily and having professional cleanings for tartar control, you’ll notice that your teeth appear darker and dirty.
  • tobacco use—both chewing and smoking tobacco can drastically change the color of dental enamel. To keep your smile sparkling white, avoid tobacco products!


If you want to maintain a bright, white smile you can take certain steps to avoid stains. Don’t use tobacco products, seek treatment for bruxism, and limit your use of staining substances. If you do find that your smile is still darker than you’d like it to be, know that there are cosmetic whitening options available to you. Give our O’Fallon cosmetic dentists a call for more information or to schedule an appointment—(636) 614-1217.