Top 10 Causes of Tooth Stain

Top 10 Causes of Tooth Stain

Wondering how you can help keep your teeth whiter, longer? Before you plan on whitening your smile, it’s important to identify the risk factors that can make your teeth look darker over time. Here are the top 10 causes of tooth stain that Dr. Yazdan sees in our Newport Beach cosmetic dentist’s office.

Coffee, Tea, Red Wine, and Soda

The dark liquids we drink so often can cause significant dental stain. Things like coffee and tea tend to be a daily occurrence, which means consistent staining as the weeks, months, and years go by. Even the occasional glass of red wine and dark soda (diet included) can cause dark stains on teeth. If sipping them through a straw is an option, it can help!

Smoking and Tobacco Products

Tobacco products such as smokeless “dip” tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes can cause significant tooth staining that reaches deep down inside of tooth enamel. This stain can be both internal and external but is usually quite hard to remove, even during a dental cleaning. 

Teeth Stains Newport Beach

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Some individuals—particularly children—notice dental stain from oral supplements such as vitamins or minerals that they take each day. Chewable tablets are some of the most common offenders, but they do not affect all children equally. Usually, a “trial and error” approach is needed to determine if that child gets tooth stains or not. The good news is that most of these stains can be polished off of the teeth.

That being said, ingesting higher or lower-than-normal mineral levels from your water supply can also cause white and brown stains on teeth. For best results, drink municipal tap water or talk to your pediatrician about water mineral levels if you have a child. Bottled waters do not automatically have regulated mineral or fluoride content, so that is not always a safe alternative.


Certain types of prescription medications are known for causing tooth stains if they’re given during specific developmental periods of childhood. Fortunately, most doctors now avoid prescribing those medications to pregnant women or young children because of those side effects. Tetracycline (a type of antibiotic) is just one example. 

Swimming in a Chlorinated Pool

For some people, lap swimming or other competitive water-based sports in a chlorinated swimming pool can cause dental stain. Not everyone is prone to this stain, but some people are. Especially if they’re in the pool a few days a week for several months.

Dark Foods Like Berries, Tomato Sauces, Curry, etc.

Any dark foods that would stain a white shirt can also stain your teeth. Tomato-based sauces, curries, and dark berries like blueberries and blackberries are some of the most noticeable. If you eat them consistently throughout the week, there’s a greater chance you’ll see dark stains on your teeth.

Leakage Around Old Dental Work

As older restorations like crowns or fillings begin to age, it’s normal for there to be a thin margin around them where stains or bacteria can leach into the tooth. Sometimes it is strictly an aesthetic issue, while other times it means the filling or crown needs to be replaced as quickly as possible.

Age and Environment

Although age doesn’t necessarily make your teeth “turn yellow,” so to speak, it’s normal for our porous enamel to gradually absorb everything from our diet and environment as the years go by. Since we can keep our teeth longer than ever, it’s normal to see some darkening in our smiles as we age.

Illness or Traumatic Injuries

As your tooth develops, it is especially susceptible to injuries and illnesses. If a child hits their top front teeth while those teeth are developing, there is a chance that the tooth will erupt with some type of visible staining or discoloration in the enamel.

These types of discolorations are sometimes hard to predict and may not be visible for months or years after the incident.


Plaque accumulation for an extended period of time can cause the color of the tooth to change. Long before a cavity forms, the enamel will take on a chalky white appearance because of the demineralization process. Just before decay forms a hole in the tooth, a brown or black shade may be visible (but not always.)

Dental Stain Removal | Newport Beach

The Center For Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry offers a variety of stain removal treatments, from polishing to teeth whitening and ICON white spot removal. Dr. Yazdan is one of Newport Beach’s most prestigious cosmetic dentists, offering a wide variety of smile enhancements for our clients.

If you have dental stain and want to improve your smile’s appearance, start with a professional cleaning and exam. From there, we can discuss whether whitening or another aesthetic service can give you the results you’re looking for.

Call our Newport Beach location today to schedule a checkup.

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