Why Aren’t My Teeth White?

October 2, 2019

Portrait of young beautiful woman in hat on whiteYour smile is one of your best assets. Smiling is contagious, and when our teeth look white, we tend to have more confidence to share our smiles with the world. 

If you don’t have a white smile, that can hold you back, especially if you have yellow or brown stains. Those stains can be pesky, but if you know what causes them, it can help you minimize their damage.

Below, we’ve listed some foods that can stain your teeth and, bonus! We threw in some things you can do to whiten your smile.

Staining Drinks

Sodas, coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages are just a few of the many beverages that can stain your pearly whites. Next time you reach for your favorite coffee or cola, take a beat and consider what’s in them.

Sodas are sugary and acidic, so exposure to soda can wear away at your tooth’s enamel. Your enamel is a thin white surface on the exterior of your teeth. When that starts to wear away, it can reveal dentin, the inner layer of your tooth which tends to be more yellow. 

And that’s not all. 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 the enamel.

Staining Foods

If you want a white smile, it’s a good idea to take it easy on foods like citrus fruits and candy. Citrus fruits are very acidic, and sugary sweets feed the bacteria that live in your mouth, leading to discoloration and decay. Starchy foods are another culprit. If you allow them to sit on your teeth, they start to turn into sugar, feeding the bacteria and leading to thinned enamel and exposed dentin.

A good rule of thumb is to consider a food’s effect on clothing. If it stains your clothes, it stains 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 tends to 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 Central Park Modern Dentistry. 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.