What causes teeth staining?

Over time, teeth start to discolour and lose their dazzling pearly look. When your teeth become stained, it can make you feel conscious of your smile.

Although tooth discolouration is inevitable through ageing, there are many factors that can speed up this process including certain foods, drinks and habits. In this article, we will explain how you can reduce your risk of any potential staining.

What causes the staining?

As you get older, your tooth enamel can weaken and start to crack. The cracks will show the stains more than the enamel, meaning your teeth will appear discoloured. There are three main things that can cause teeth staining:

    • Chromogens – these are compounds with strong pigments that cling to enamel
    • Tannins – these are plant-based compounds that make it easier for stains to stick to teeth
    • Acids – these make tooth enamel softer and rougher, so it’s easier for stains to develop

Coffee and Tea

Do you enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea? Coffee is very acidic and high in chromogens – you can tell this just by its colour. However, tea can cause more staining than coffee. This is due to it being acidic and containing tannins. Whether you drink it black, milky or iced – over time your teeth will become stained. It’s a good idea to drink a glass of water after enjoying a cup of coffee or tea to wash away some of the acids.

Red wine

You may enjoy a glass of red wine at the end of a long day but it is not a good idea if you want to maintain a bright smile. Red wine contains all three components that we explained earlier, meaning it is very likely to stain your teeth.

Food Dye

Have you ever eaten a sweet and your tongue has changed colour? This is the artificial dye that can be found in sweets, ice lollies, and some sugary drinks. The staining effects are visible on the soft tissues of the mouth instantly, so imagine the damage it can cause on the teeth over time.


Many smokers have visibly stained teeth, often being a yellow colour. The tar and other substances found in tobacco will stick to the teeth and quickly turn the surfaces a yellow colour. Smoking can also cause a whole host of dental problems including; gum disease, mouth cancer and tooth loss.

There are a lot more lifestyle choices that will affect the colour of your teeth but these are the most common. If you would like more advice on keeping your teeth pearly white, the dentists at Gwersyllt Dental Care are here to help you. Call us on 01978 757409 to book an appointment.