The Causes of Tooth Discoloration By Thomas G. Zarger Jr., D.D.S. on December 09, 2020

woman smiling, half of her teeth are discolored, the other half are whiteWe all want a dazzling white smile, but tooth discoloration can get in the way of that dream. Thankfully, there are preventive steps we can take to keep our teeth healthy and white.

Proudly serving the Knoxville, Maryville, and Oak Ridge, TN areas, our dental office provides top-notch teeth whitening treatments and regular dental cleanings to maintain your beautiful smile. Want to learn what you can do to prevent your teeth from discoloring? Join dentist Thomas G. Zarger and our expert team as we discuss the causes of tooth discoloration.


The foods we eat and the beverages we drink are often the main causes of stains and discoloration. We recommend moderating the intake of the following foods and beverages:

  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Dark sodas
  • Starchy foods
  • Beets
  • Curry
  • Soy sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar

If you can minimize your intake of these foods and beverages, you will notice vastly whiter teeth.


Either smoking or chewing tobacco is incredibly harmful to your smile. The chemicals in tobacco and the additives in cigarettes can cause discoloration and yellowing of the teeth. Smoking will also damage your gums, increasing the risk of periodontal disease.

Along with oral health, tobacco use has been shown to be extremely hazardous for your overall health. We recommend trying to quit if possible. Your smile will thank you for it, not to mention the rest of your body.


When we grow older, our teeth are naturally more prone to yellowing. Our outer shell of enamel slowly wears down over time, revealing the yellowish dentin underneath. This is part of the natural aging process.

At this stage, professional bleaching would actually be harmful to the teeth and would not whiten the dentin. Dental bonding or porcelain veneers are both wonderful alternative options for those who are not eligible for whitening procedures.

Plaque and Tartar

Without proper oral health routines and maintenance, an abundance of plaque can form, leading to tartar. These can play a pivotal role in turning your teeth yellow.

Proper brushing and flossing can mitigate discoloration due to plaque and tartar. Good oral hygiene combined with the precautions mentioned earlier will go a long way in preserving the whiteness of your teeth.

Treatment Options

If your teeth are so stained that you need professional treatment, we have you covered. There are many teeth whitening options as well as other cosmetic dentistry procedures available. Dr. Zarger will develop a custom cosmetic dentistry treatment plan just for you.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you have questions about whitening your teeth, feel free to reach out and contact us. Give us a call today at (865) 693-7631 to schedule an appointment. You can also speak with an experienced dentist online.

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Dr. Thomas G. Zarger, Jr., DDS Family Dentistry in Knoxville

Our practice has provided skilled and compassionate dentistry for patients in the Knoxville, TN, community for over 30 years. Dr. Zarger is a member of:

  • American Dental Association
  • Second District Dental Society
  • Tennessee Dental Association
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

We strive to make care convenient and affordable to all patients and accept CareCredit financing to help reduce the cost of treatment. Schedule your consultation today online, or by calling (865) 693-7631.

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