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What Causes Teeth Staining?

Over time, it’s natural for our teeth to become discoloured and stained. However, we usually don’t notice staining until it’s too late when we find our teeth aren’t looking as bright or white as they once used to be.

With the teeth becoming discoloured very easily from day-to-day factors, it’s important to understand how you can play your part in preventing the teeth from becoming stained or discoloured. Tooth discolouration is divided into three main causes; intrinsic, which is caused by something in your body or inside your teeth, extrinsic, caused by something coming into contact with the teeth, or age-related, which inevitably occurs later on in life.

This guide explains the common factors which contribute towards stained teeth and ways you can reduce or slow down the discolouration of your teeth.

Bad Diet

Our diets can have a massive impact on our general health, which of course, means that our teeth are also affected. Some types of food and drink can stain your teeth as it moves into the outer layers of your tooth structure. Over time, this residue left behind can turn to a yellow-brown shade and therefore give the appearance of discoloured teeth. 

Food and drink which commonly stain the teeth includes coffee, tea, wine, fizzy drinks, chocolate, fruit juices, curry, soy sauce, and darker fruits, such as berries.

Ways to reduce staining of the teeth caused by diet can include limiting these types of foods or substituting them for alternatives, for example, opting for a lighter herbal tea instead of a normal cup of tea. You can also rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking to prevent residue from building up. Crunchy fruit and vegetables can boost saliva and are known to act as natural stain removers.


Not only can smoking cause a multitude of problems for our health, including bad breath, tooth loss, gum disease, increased risk of oral cancer and a loss of taste and smell, it can also increase the rate of our teeth becoming yellow and stained, caused by the tar and nicotine found in cigarettes. With 24% of the UK population smoking cigarettes on a regular basis, there’s no surprise to hear that the number of patients struggling with discoloured teeth is continuously on the rise.

If you are a regular smoker, we would recommend trying to limit the number of cigarettes you have each day, as well as brushing your teeth more frequently throughout the day to avoid buildup which causes staining.


While of course pregnancy is different, many pregnant patients visit us when they experience red and inflamed gums, among other common oral problems. However, some patients also experience discolouration of their teeth following a pregnancy, which is thought to be caused by buildup of acid from morning sickness and acid reflux.

Taking care of your oral health is always important, however, during pregnancy, this is even more important. If you are experiencing dental problems during pregnancy or find your teeth becoming discoloured during or after your pregnancy, it’s important to visit your dentist for advice.


Medication can also be another factor contributing to the discolouration of teeth, with antihistamines, tetracycline, doxycycline, chemotherapy treatment and some blood pressure controlled medications having known to be common causes.

While these treatments are important for your general health, it can be worth discussing your medications with your dentist for advice on how best to look after your teeth.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Oral hygiene is the biggest contributing factor of tooth discolouration, with pigmented residue building up on the teeth throughout the day, having good oral hygiene can drastically slow down the rate of discolouration. After having sugary foods or drinks, or even smoking, it’s strongly recommended to brush your teeth to prevent plaque from building up and causing extrinsic stains.

Without regular brushing, the film over the teeth can turn a yellowish-brown colour. This is why you should regularly brush your teeth, twice a day, using a fluoride toothpaste.

A Brighter, Whiter Smile

If you are looking for ways to make your smile brighter and whiter, you should first identify what may be causing your teeth to discolour. As mentioned above, discolouration is normal and is impossible to avoid, however, there may be some causes which are speeding up the process of discolouration in your teeth. It’s important to maintain good oral hygiene and limit any foods and drinks which are known to stain the teeth.

Of course, you should be regularly visiting your London dentist for routine checkups, and your dentist will be able to provide you with advice bespoke to your teeth. Teeth whitening is an affordable option which is simple and effective in reversing dental discolouration and can restore the shade of your teeth for a more natural and whiter smile. 

Using an electric toothbrush can also help to clean your teeth more effectively, with a two-minute timer and the option to deep clean the surfaces of your teeth. If you are interested in buying an electric toothbrush, then you may wish to read our guide on The Best 8 Electric Toothbrushes for 2020.

Take Care of Your Oral Health

Make your oral health a priority with our professional dentists in London. Whether you want to learn about the condition of your teeth and gums or you need immediate treatment for a particular oral problem, we can help.

The convenient Dentist in Victoria London will find you an appointment whether you’re a new or returning customer. If you require an emergency dentist in Victoria, contact us on 020 7233 7660. 

Our dentists will see all emergency patients on the same day whenever possible, and you will be offered the next available appointment as soon as you call.

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