5 Reasons Your Smile Is Discolored

Taking pictures becomes uncomfortable and embarrassing when you have discolored teeth. Sometimes genetics are to blame for dull and discolored teeth. Yellow or brown tooth stains are also caused by diet or poor dental hygiene.

The expert dental team at Just For Your Smile in Vienna, Virginia and Potomac, Maryland, provides comprehensive checkups and cleanings to keep smiles bright and healthy. They also use state-of-the-art whitening treatments to remove stains so you leave the office feeling confident in your pearly whites.

There are many culprits when it comes to yellowed, brown, or discolored teeth. Here are five reasons you might notice your bright white smile fading.

Foods and drinks

One likely reason your smile has become discolored is due to your diet. Dark foods and drinks have a chemical called chromogens. A chromogen is a substance that transforms into a pigment, which then stains.

For example, the tannic acid in red wine contains chromogens that can permanently stain teeth. Some other foods and drinks that cause staining are:

You can help prevent foods and beverages from staining your teeth by using a straw when drinking or brushing your teeth immediately after eating and drinking.

Tobacco use

Another major reason for stained teeth is smoking. Nicotine and tobacco products contain particles that adhere to your tooth enamel. The longer you smoke, chew, or dip, the more difficult it is to remove the stains.

The particles build up on your tooth enamel over time, causing brown stains to become darker and more pronounced. Only a professional can remove the deep discoloration caused by tobacco use.


Everyone is born with the genes that determine their tooth color. Some people have naturally bright white teeth, while others have a duller look through no fault of their own. Your genetics determine not only your natural tooth color but also how susceptible they are to stains.

Lack of hydration

When your body lacks hydration, your mouth has trouble making enough saliva to keep your teeth clean. Saliva’s job is to remove sugars, bacteria, and other food debris from your gums and between your teeth. 

If your mouth is chronically dry, all of those things can remain on your teeth. As the bacteria builds up, so does plaque, which eventually hardens and turns into tartar. Tartar causes yellow-brown spots on your teeth that become darker and more noticeable over time.

Tooth decay

You could have tooth decay and not even know it. One of the primary signs of this condition is yellow or brown stains on your teeth. Plaque and tartar buildup is responsible for tooth decay, which leads to darkly stained teeth.

That’s why it’s vital to floss and brush daily and visit us regularly for your dental cleanings and checkups. The best way to avoid stains and discoloration is through proper dental hygiene.

You don’t have to hide your smile every time someone snaps a photo. Prioritize and maintain your oral health by giving the Just For Your Smile office nearest you a call today. You can also request an appointment online.

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