Why Do Teeth Darken?

LVI-Trained Dentist Serving Oakton, Vienna, McLean and Nearby Northern Virginia


If you brush and floss religiously and still don’t have the bright, white smile you want, you may be wondering what you are doing wrong. The truth is you may be doing everything just right. Good habits will preserve the beauty and health of your smile, but there are also some factors that contribute to darkening and discoloration that are beyond your control.

Good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing and regular professional cleanings are the foundation for keeping your teeth healthy and white.

The next thing to look for is pretty basic. What are you putting in your mouth? Red wine, dark berries, and other foods and beverages that cause tough stains on fabrics can stain your teeth, too. So can tobacco use.

Damage to your tooth enamel robs your teeth of their slick, stain-resistant surface. Sometimes, in an effort to get our teeth as white and bright as possible you do more harm than good by brushing too aggressively or using abrasive products.

More advanced damage to your tooth enamel is called tooth erosion. Excessive exposure to acidic foods and beverages, chlorine, and stomach acid can all cause tooth erosion.

Aging alone will cause your teeth to darken as the enamel thins and dentin starts to show through.

Your teeth can darken from the inside, too. Certain medications, including tetracycline, and excessive fluoride exposure in childhood can cause discoloration on the inside of your teeth. Trauma to a tooth can cause it to darken slowly over time.

Most darkening can be remedied with tooth whitening. If your teeth are resistant to whitening, other solutions such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding can cover the discoloration, giving you a bright, beautiful smile again.

If you are ready for the bright, beautiful smile you deserve, please contact our Northern Virginia cosmetic dentistry office today to schedule your personal whitening consultation.