Why Aren’t My Teeth White?

January 2, 2017

Your smile is one of your best assets. There’s nothing more charming than a big, pearly white grin. It’s expressive, and it’s attractive! There’s no denying that a white smile is desirable. So what’s the secret? How do you keep your teeth white? What’s causing those yellow and brown stains? Let’s take a look at the source of tooth stains, so that you can mitigate tooth staining, and check back soon for our next blog, where we’ll go over some of the best foods and drinks to keep your teeth white!

Staining Drinks

Sodas, coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages (among other drinks) may all stain your teeth. Next time you reach for a beverage, think about its contents. Sodas can be sugary and acidic, which can wear away at enamel (a tooth’s outermost layer, and the whitest portion of a tooth), revealing dentin (a tooth’s inner layer which is more yellow than enamel). On top of that, sodas usually contain some kind of coloring compound that can lead to even further staining. Coffees and teas also have ingredients that stain teeth, and their acidity may penetrate enamel. Coffee is especially acidic, and its dark color leads to tooth stains. Alcoholic beverages, like coffee, tea, and soda, are acidic, and they may contain staining agents. Red wine, one of the worst staining beverages, is quite acidic, and it can leave your teeth looking purple!

Staining Foods

Moderate your consumption of citric fruits, candy, and other staining foods if you’re looking to keep your teeth their whitest. Citrus fruits and candy are especially harmful for your tooth enamel. Citrus fruits are very acidic, and sugary sweets are ideal for bacteria proliferation, leading to plaque that also damages teeth. In addition, you’ll want to keep an eye on your consumption of starchy foods and foods that have staining ingredients. Starchy foods, when allowed to set on your teeth, turn into sugar, which feeds bacteria that cause plaque… and that can lead to (you guessed it) weakened enamel and exposed dentin. Foods like blueberries and blackberries simply stain your teeth. Even curry can be problematic for your pearly whites because it contains turmeric, a spice that’s notorious for its yellow staining power. Note that if a food can stain your clothes, it can stain your teeth.


Smoking and chewing tobacco wreaks havoc on your teeth, your mouth, and quite frankly, the rest of your body, and they’re certainly sources of tooth staining. Chewing tobacco is naturally brown, which leaves stains behind. In addition, it’s just downright unhealthy. It can damage your teeth and leave you with missing teeth. Smoking may be even worse, causing staining, tooth loss, gum disease, and oral cancer.


Regular oral care mitigates tooth staining. On the flip side, poor dental care can cause staining. Leaving food debris to sit on your teeth can force staining agents into the structure of your teeth. In addition, poor care can leave your teeth covered with plaque. To keep your teeth their whitest, you’ll have to rid your mouth of plaque and food debris. That means regular brushing and flossing, and regular visits to the dentist.

Tooth Health

If your teeth aren’t healthy, they may be discolored. The pulp of your tooth is responsible for keeping a tooth healthy and alive. If that pulp is damaged or unhealthy, your tooth may become discolored from the inside out.


Teeth vary from person to person. Some of us are born with strong, pearly white teeth that are coated with picturesque white enamel. Others, well, aren’t. If you have naturally thin enamel, your teeth may appear off-white simply due to genetics. Although you can’t do anything to change the genetic makeup of your teeth, there are whitening solutions (which we’ll cover in our next blog!).

Further curious about tooth staining? Or looking to get your teeth whitened? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Stapleton Modern Dental. You can count on us for dental care, including cosmetic dentistry treatments. We provide dental services, including teeth whitening, for folks throughout the Stapleton area.