Is your bright smile becoming dull and discolored? Is it taking on a yellow or gray hue?
When we start to see that our teeth are not as white as they used to be, whitening treatments quickly come to mind. 

Before jumping to just any whitening option, it’s important to know what caused your teeth to become discolored in the first place. Not all whitening options work the same, that is why it is always recommended to see your dentist before proceeding on your own.

Graying teeth can be a sign of dental issues, such as a dying tooth or bacteria. This needs medical attention; not a simple whitening strip that may only offer surface benefits.

Causes of Tooth Discoloration

There are many possible reasons for your teeth to become discolored. They can range from natural to lifestyle habits to medical issues. This is why it is always best to have your dentist take a look at your teeth to rule out any dental problems.


  • Age: The enamel tends to thin as we age and cannot grow back. As the enamel erodes, it exposes the layer underneath called dentin. This layer is naturally yellow in color and cannot be whitened.
  • Decay: In cases of actual infection or damage to the nerve, if it is not medically treated, the bacteria from an infection can spread throughout your jaw, teeth, and gums.
  • Genetics: This is normally caused by a combination of two layers; the enamel and the dentin. Depending on the thickness of each layer, as well as the color of the dentin, your teeth may be darker or yellower than you would like.


  • Beverages: Certain drinks such as coffee, tea, wine, or soda, can slowly erode the enamel (the protective outer layer) of your teeth. This erosion makes them more susceptible to staining and damage.
  • Smoking/Tobacco Use
  • Medications: Certain medications like Tetracycline or Doxycycline can cause tooth discoloration
  • Poor dental hygiene: Plaque buildup can cause cavities and decay to both the inside and outside of your teeth
  • Trauma or injury: Just like a bruise, if your tooth is injured by trauma, it can become discolored due to bleeding that makes its way to the dentin layer.  

Whitening Treatments

While there are options for whitening teeth at home, they may not always be effective as different causes may need different treatments. At-home treatments often have ingredients that can cause gum and teeth sensitivity or irritation. Depending on the severity of the discoloration, tartar, or stain removal may be required before whitening should be applied. 

Your dentist can remove plaque and stains if necessary, and provide professional strength whitening treatments. Here at Exquisite Smiles, we use  Zoom! Whitening, which can whiten your teeth several shades in less than 1 hour. 

Don’t trust your oral health to chance in a box! Contact us for an oral exam so that we can professionally assess your dental needs. We are your trusted dentists in South Attleboro, MA, and rest assured, we can help restore your pearly whites again. Now that’s definitely something to smile about!