Tasting The Rainbow: Why Are Your Teeth Discolored?

21 April 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Many people with discolored teeth struggle with their self confidence. They have trouble interacting in business negotiations, landing job interviews, and even talking with their peers. Unfortunately, these people aren't aware that many day-to-day activities may be causing the discoloration. Other causes of discolored teeth may need the help of a dentist specializing in cosmetic dentistry to fix.

Black Teeth

Black teeth are caused by decaying teeth. Just like cavities, these teeth may have dark, blackened spots that are easily noticeable. A dentist will fix these teeth by removing the decay and inserting a filling.

Gray Teeth

Gray teeth are usually caused by pulp necrosis, but they may also be decaying teeth that haven't progressed to the black stage yet. Pulp necrosis simply means that the pulp is literally dying. The dentist will need to clean out the pulp and reseal it. In severe instances, you may need to have the tooth removed completely.

Slightly Blue Teeth

Teeth that have a bluish tinge may be caused by antibiotics. Sometimes if a patient took antibiotics for an extended period of time while these teeth were forming, it can cause a permanent color change to the teeth. The simple treatment for this is tooth whitening.

Light Yellow Teeth

Certain foods can cause yellow teeth, including coffee, soda, red wine, or any other dark beverage. The repetitive drinking of these beverages will eventually cause a discoloration on the teeth. To offset this effect, you can skip the dark beverages entirely or opt for a straw. Because a straw is placed behind the teeth, this is usually enough to keep discoloration at bay.

Dark Yellow/Brown Teeth

Dark yellow or brown-tinged teeth are often the early sign of tooth decay. If left untreated, this may progress to a gray or black color. It may also lead to eventual tooth loss. Your dentist can sometimes restore the white color and strength of the teeth with fluoride treatments.

Orange Spots

If most of the teeth are white but small sections are orange, the teeth probably have a buildup of excess plaque. This is caused by poor oral hygiene. You may be able to remove the stains at home with thorough brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash, but if the stains remain, your dentist can do a more thorough cleaning with tools at their office. However, if you don't commit to proper oral hygiene in the future, the buildup may happen again.

White Spots

If most of your teeth are white but some areas have even whiter spots, the stains are probably caused by excess fluoride treatments. You may also be ingesting too much fluoride from your toothpaste or from water that's treated with fluoride. You can cut back on your fluoride ingestion to reduce the problem and use a whitening kit to bleach the rest of your teeth to match the white spots so they're less noticeable.