Over time our teeth can go from white to not-so-bright for a number of reasons. Coffee, tea, and red wine are some major culprits. Their pigments attach to the white enamel of our teeth. Tar and nicotine found in tobacco both have a naturally dark color which also discolors teeth. While age alone does not cause darker teeth, we can wear the outer white layer of enamel. As that layer thins, the inner core of tooth which has a more yellow color starts to show through contributing to a darker color.
Antihistamines, certain medications used to treat high blood pressure and depression medication can cause tooth darkening as a side effect. Certain antibiotics taken while young can also discolor adult teeth later in life. Finally, taking a blow to the mouth can traumatize teeth and cause one or more of the to take on a grey or dark brown color.
The good news is that restoring teeth to a whiter color is relatively easy and safe. Tooth whitening will be addressed in our next article.