Keeping your teeth sparkling white is a challenge! So many of our favorite things can dull our smiles. Of course, tooth whitening is always a great option, but it’s important to know the causes of tooth discoloration in the first place so you can do your best to prevent staining from happening. 

Here are the top three main causes of tooth discoloration:

Dark Beverages

Look, we hate to blame coffee for anything. We absolutely LOVE coffee and couldn’t live without it. But the truth is, it can really stain your teeth. We can always tell the heavy coffee drinkers the second we look at the back of their front teeth. It can really do a number on your enamel. 

Coffee isn’t the only beverage that causes tooth discoloration, though. Black tea, cola, and red wine. Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to give up the beverages that you love. If you’re a big coffee or tea drinker in the morning, just be sure to finish it in a reasonable amount of time (no more sipping all morning long) and brush after lunch for a fresh start. Your teeth will thank you!


Unlike coffee, we have no problem coming down hard on smoking. Not only is it bad for your teeth, it’s bad for almost every other part of your body as well. The time to quit was yesterday!

The tar and nicotine in the cigarettes will turn the dentin of your teeth yellow over time, and long-term smokers will turn brown. Gross! In addition to being one of the main causes of tooth discoloration, smoking has a strong correlation to oral cancer. In fact, approximately 90% of people diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat are (or were at one time) tobacco users.

Fluoride, Trauma, or Tetracycline in Childhood

Our teeth tell a story, and sometimes, things that happened in our childhood can show up in our smile later on in life. Fascinating, isn’t it? Too much exposure to fluoride in your childhood can lead to dental fluorosis, which is a hypomineralization of the tooth enamel. This causes white spots all over the teeth. If you have this and it’s bothering you, contact us and we can talk about some cosmetic treatments to address these white spots. 

Maybe you experienced dental trauma as a child, like a fall that caused some internal bleeding. This can lead to permanent discoloration of the tooth, even as an adult. Similarly, if your mother took tetracycline antibiotics in the later part of her pregnancy or you took them as a child (age eight or younger) it can cause a severe gray or brown staining of the teeth. Good news, though… our KöR Teeth Whitening System is great for reversing tetracycline stains!

Want to learn more about teeth whitening at Sugar Fix Dental Loft? Give us a call at (773) 883-1818 and we’ll go over all of our options! 

Causes of Tooth Discoloration Pinterest