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Why Do Teeth Lose Their Whiteness with Age?

Why Do Teeth Lose Their Whiteness with Age?

You diligently brush, floss, and get professional cleanings, yet notice your smile becomes dingier with each passing year. Your teeth are not immune to the effects of aging. 

The loss of teeth whiteness that happens with age is partly due to the yellowing of the dentin within the tooth. The dentin becomes more visible as your tooth enamel thins and cracks with age. Enamel is also susceptible to coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco staining.

At Advanced Care Dentistry, Thomas O. Marxen, DDS, MSD, and the Advanced Care Dentistry team offer cosmetic enhancements like teeth whitening, veneers, crowns, and bonding to help restore a youthful, radiant style. Understanding why your teeth are less white helps you determine the best cosmetic procedures for your smile goals. 

Enamel wear-and-tear

The outer layer of your teeth, known as the enamel, protects your smile from daily wear-and-tear. As you age, the enamel tends to wear down gradually. Although wear-and-tear is natural, it reveals the underlying layer of dentin, which is yellower in color. As a result, your smile looks less vibrant.

Staining agents

Throughout your life, you expose your teeth to various substances that can cause staining. Common culprits include coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco. Over the years, accumulating these stains contributes to the discoloration of teeth, making them appear less white. Professional dental cleanings and whitening treatments can help address surface stains and restore the brightness of your smile, but they can’t dissolve all the stains.

Genetic factors

Genetics can also play a role in determining the natural color of your teeth. Some people may inherit genes that naturally make their teeth have a more yellow or grayish tint. You may just be more susceptible to the loss of tooth whiteness as you age. 

Changes in dentin

The dentin that lies right underneath your tooth enamel also changes with time. It naturally darkens, and when combined with enamel wear, the overall effect can be a gradual loss of whiteness. 


Certain medications can also contribute to the discoloration of your teeth. Antibiotics taken in childhood, particularly tetracycline, can cause intrinsic staining, affecting the color of teeth from the inside.

Restoring a bright, white smile

Combine preventive measures with professional treatments to restore a bright, white smile. 

Preventive dentistry, which includes regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing, helps prevent surface stains and slows down enamel wear. Professional dental cleanings, performed by our exceptional dental hygienists, can remove stubborn stains and tartar that may contribute to discoloration. 

We also offer Zoom!® teeth whitening treatments, either in-office or at-home, with professional-grade compounds that more effectively restore whiteness than any over-the-counter product can. 

Dental bonding, veneers, or crowns can be considered for more severe discoloration because of injury, medications, or genetics. 

Lifestyle changes, such as reducing the consumption of staining substances like coffee and tobacco, can also slow the loss of tooth whiteness.

Here at Advanced Care Dentistry, we customize your cosmetic plan to restore the natural radiance of your teeth. Call the office or use this website to schedule an appointment.

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At Advanced Care Dentistry, Thomas O. Marxen, DDS, MSD, and the experienced dental team Here at Advanced Care Dentistry, your oral health is our priority. If you have questions about any oral health concerns, call the office or reach out via this website.