teeth with yellowish side

Tooth Stain: Causes and Ways to Brighten Your Smile

  • Teeth stains can hurt both self-esteem and making a good impression.
  • There are multiple causes of teeth staining, including food and drinks, tobacco use, age, and illness.
  • Professional whitening treatments or OTC products can help restore your smile’s natural brightness.
  • Prevention is key- avoiding foods and drinks that contribute to discoloration and practicing good oral hygiene habits.
  • At-home remedies such as brushing with baking soda or hydrogen peroxide can help with light stain removal.

young businesswoman smiling in business office

A bright, white smile is often seen as a sign of good health and beauty. But as you age, your teeth can become discolored or stained due to food, drinks, smoking, and other factors. Sadly, this can significantly impact your confidence and prevent you from feeling good about your smile.

A study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that almost 75 percent of adults felt that their smile was a major factor in their social life and attractiveness. Thus, taking care of your teeth and managing stains can be important for self-esteem and making a good impression.

Fortunately, you can follow plenty of tips and tricks to maintain a clean, healthy smile and prevent or manage tooth stains. Read on to find out more.

The Causes of Teeth Staining

Several things can cause your teeth to become stained over time. And each of these can be avoided or managed, depending on the cause. Here are some of them:

Food and Drink

One of the leading causes of tooth discoloration is food and drink. Consuming foods and drinks like coffee, tea, red wine, and dark sodas can cause a yellowish tint on your teeth. Berries, curry powder, balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and rhubarb can also be culprits for discoloration- these substances contain chromogens that attach to your teeth’s enamel and stain it.

Tobacco Use

Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products like chewing tobacco is one of the main culprits for tooth staining. Not only do they contain nicotine, but they also contain tar which both sticks to your teeth’s enamel and leads to yellow stains over time.

Quitting smoking is the best way to eliminate this cause of staining; there are many resources available today if you need help quitting smoking, such as nicotine patches or online support groups–find what works for you!


As we age, our tooth enamel becomes less porous, making it easier for stains from food, drink, smoking, etc., to stick more quickly than when we were younger. This means that even if you maintain good oral hygiene habits throughout life, you may still experience some staining due to wear over time and naturally occurring changes in tooth color due to aging.


Certain illnesses can affect our oral health, including our teeth coloration; autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s Syndrome can cause dry mouth, which makes it harder for saliva to wash away bacteria which then leads to an increase in tartar buildup on our teeth–causing yellow discoloration over time. Some medications, such as antidepressants, can also lead to dry mouth, so make sure you talk with your doctor about how medications might impact your dental health before starting any new medication regimen.

Whitening Your Teeth

checking the color of the teeth

The good news is that there are several ways to whiten your teeth and restore their natural brightness. Dental veneers are a popular option for those looking to whiten and brighten their teeth, as they can be made to fit your exact specifications for an even, beautiful smile.

Also, one of the most common options is professional teeth whitening which involves using a bleaching solution applied by a dentist in the office or at home with custom-fitted trays. This option can be expensive but produces results quickly and is one of the safest ways to whiten teeth.

Another option is over-the-counter (OTC) whitening products such as gels, strips, rinses and toothpaste which are much less costly than professional whitening treatments but may take longer for results to be visible. Finally, you can try at-home remedies such as brushing with baking soda or hydrogen peroxide for light stain removal.

Keeping a Bright Smile

Teeth stains are one of the many side effects of aging that can detract from an otherwise healthy smile. Although there isn’t much you can do about naturally occurring discoloration caused by genetics or aging, you can prevent further staining by avoiding food and drinks that contribute to it, such as coffee and red wine. If you want to brighten your smile beyond prevention methods, there are professional whitening treatments available, as well as OTC products that provide affordable options for restoring your pearly whites without breaking the bank!

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