Is teeth discoloration caused by a vitamin or mineral definciency?

Written by Josh Beechraft

February 08, 2021

The very first memory I have about vitamin deficiency comes from my elementary school days. I don’t even know why it has stuck with me all these years …

Well, maybe I do. Afterall, I am a bonafide Flintstone Kid. We kept a steady supply of those Fred-clad chewables in our kitchen cabinet. I spent my preschool days picking those things out of my teeth. Boy did they get stuck.

Snow teeth whitening kit

Then, I graduated from Flintstones right on up to those big, white chewable vitamin C tablets. Yesss, chewable. You know the kind I mean … They taste like oranges. Mmm hmm.

So, when my teacher talked about ship after ship of people dying of some weird disease called scurvy while trying to cross the ocean, one thing caught my attention. They died of something that seemed pretty stupid to my little second-grade brain.

They died of vitamin C deficiency. Not some crazy fever or virus, not a terrible plague … a vitamin deficiency killed all of those people. They just needed some oranges to survive.

an orange


Those people didn’t have enough healthy food to stay alive—let alone a fresh supply of Flinstones chewables or vitamin C tablets.

Vitamin C deficiency is no joke.

When your body doesn’t have enough vitamin C, it isn’t going to be happy. You will be tired and sore, or you may have dry skin and splitting hair.

And your teeth may be yellow.

That brings me to the question of the day: Is teeth discoloration due to a vitamin deficiency?

The easy answer to this question is sometimes.

A lack of nutrients in your diet can wreak havoc on your entire body. That’s a fact, Jack. As to which of those many, many nutrients will directly cause your teeth to become discolored, well, that’s what we’re about to dive into.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is needed by your body in order to form muscle, blood vessels, collagen in your bones, and cartilage. It’s also a key factor enabling your body to heal.

Free radicals are the devil to our cells. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that enables your body to fight the damage free radicals cause. It also aids the body in storing and absorbing iron.

Your body doesn’t just make vitamin C. That means you have to ingest it by eating foods like citrus, berries, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, peppers, and broccoli. Or you can take it in pill form through chewable tablets (yummm) or capsules.

You already know that vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy. This same deficiency can also lead to periodontitis, also known as gum disease caused by a nasty buildup of bacteria on the teeth and gums. Ewww.

It is that excessive layer of bacteria that may be responsible for the discoloration of your pearly whites.

This is just one more reason why you should get plenty of vitamin C. Keeping enough vitamin C in your diet might minimize the teeth discoloration. (The jury is still out as to whether taking vitamin C actually whitens the teeth.)

Vitamin A

Vitamin A, also known as retinoic acid or retinol, is the nutrient our bodies need for healthy growth, cell division, reproduction, immunity, and vision. Like vitamin C, it also acts as an antioxidant.

As previously stated, antioxidants fight against the evils of free radicals. Free radicals contribute to cancer, heart disease, and various other diseases. Basically, free radicals are bad and antioxidants are good.

You will need to eat leafy greens, carrots, cantaloupe, dairy products, and liver to naturally ingest vitamin A. Ot, you can take vitamin A capsules. Fellas, you need 900 micrograms per day. Ladies, you need 700 micrograms per day.

When your body doesn’t get the vitamin A it needs, it messes with your epithelial cells. Those epithelial cells release phosphate, fluoride, calcium, carbonate ions, and magnesium, all of which contribute to the formation of healthy teeth and enamel.

That’s not all. Vitamin A keeps your salivary glands working like they should. Our mouths need saliva because it rinses plaque and bacteria off of the teeth and gums. Active saliva glands work to fight tooth decay.

So when you’re deficient in vitamin A, you will more than likely have very poor enamel and a lack of saliva. Both poor enamel and a lack of saliva often result in tooth decay.

Guess what? Tooth decay often means that those teeth are discolored.

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is something every sunbather is familiar with because they lay claim to it as the reason for their sun worship. Many of them may not know why they need a healthy amount of vitamin D.

yellow sun and sky in dawn time


Millions upon millions of people around the globe have a vitamin D deficiency.

We need vitamin D if we intend to use our bones for any length of time. Obviously, vitamin D is rather crucial for keeping our bones strong and healthy. And do you know why? Calcium.

Calcium makes up the majority of bone and it requires vitamin D to be available so that it can be absorbed. Our bodies make vitamin D when sunlight hits our skin and causes a chemical reaction that changes it to calciferol. The body is pretty fantastic like that.

If you plan to eat your vitamin D, there is a really short list of foods that make the cut: mackerel, salmon, herring, cod liver oil, canned tuna, mushrooms, egg yolks, and sardines. Or, you can find fortified products like cereal, cow’s milk, soy milk, oatmeal, and orange juice.

Failure to go outside translates into a low vitamin D level. As you can imagine, the year 2020 was probably quite the year for low vitamin D levels because many people were afraid to go outside. So people needed to take a vitamin D orally through capsules.

The proper daily dosage of vitamin D varies by age: 400 international units for kiddos up to twelve months, 600 IU for people one to seventy years old, and a whopping 800 IU for everybody over the age of seventy years.

Vitamin D is vital for the body to make healthy tooth enamel. It is critical that we have an adequate supply of vitamin D for phosphate and calcium to do their job of partnering with the vitamin D.

Studies have proven that children who have higher levels of vitamin D in their systems are less likely to experience tooth decay. Tooth decay means discolored teeth.

A lack of vitamin D in the body leads to poor calcium absorption. You can take calcium until the cows come home, but if you want to make the most of it, you need vitamin D with it.


We’ve been covering vitamins that can cause teeth discoloration. Now we’re moving on to minerals. Calcium is a mineral that most of us are familiar with.

Calcium can be found throughout our bodies. We need calcium to support and sustain bodily functions and strong bones. We store the majority of our calcium in our bones and teeth. This is how the body is able to maintain the solidity and structure of our skeletons.

Our body must have calcium in order for muscles to achieve movement and for nerves to send messages from the brain throughout the body.

Our blood vessels need calcium, too. Calcium helps blood vessels transport blood to every part of the body and to aid in the release of enzymes and hormones that play a role in nearly every single function of our bodies.

It’s plain to see that our bodies will not function well without enough calcium.

And it certainly doesn’t bode well for our teeth when we don’t supply our bodies with adequate calcium.

Decalcification (otherwise known as demineralization) is the process by which calcium on our teeth is basically pushed out of the way by the acid from excess bacteria. This greedy bacteria eats away at our tooth enamel and leaves an ugly present.

Lovely, little white spots. These chalky white spots can leave their mark on your teeth permanently.

You need enough calcium to help prevent this AND you need to brush to keep that enamel-eating bacteria at bay.

Do you know what’s worse than white spots on your teeth? Blackened teeth. If the teeth are turning black, you can be assured that something is very wrong.

Black teeth are an external signal of a major internal problem with the teeth. This is a sign of a severe lack of calcium within the teeth. You cannot treat this on your own. You must see a dental professional to remedy this problem. Blackened teeth may even require extraction.

And just like the song says, one thing leads to another … This mineral leads us to yet another mineral.


Calcium needs phosphorus. They go together like Forrest and Jenny, peas and carrots, carrots and peas.

Phosphorus is the second most plentiful mineral in the body; it is second only to calcium.

Phosphorus enables calcium to be completely absorbed. When the two are partnered together, you will strengthen the healthy structure of your teeth. That means better dental health.

Calcium cannot do the job of strengthening bones and teeth without the presence of phosphate.

Phosphorus also plays a role with the proper functioning of muscles and nerves. It acts as a buffer to keep your blood’s pH level in balance.

And guess what other fancy-schmancy thing phosphorus helps our bodies do? It facilitates the transformation of protein, carbs, and fat into energy.

Yesss, boss. Yes, please. I’ll take a ten-year dose of phosphorus, please.

Phosphorus is found in such foods as red meat, poultry, fish, nuts, beans, yogurt, milk, and cheese. When taking phosphorus as a supplement, you will need eight-hundred milligrams to twelve-hundred milligrams.

All that being said, a lack of phosphorus prevents calcium from being absorbed and therefore indirectly contributes to teeth discoloration.


Finally, we come to the mineral fluoride. Most of us are familiar with toothpaste containing fluoride.

Fluoride is a mineral that you can find naturally occurring in some water and foods.

If you’re like me, you have grandparents who never had a cavity and kept all of their teeth throughout their entire lives. My grandma drank water from their well that contained natural fluoride.

My grandma lived ninety-nine years with nary a cavity in her mouth and went on to greener pastures with all of her natural teeth. She was raised on well water with naturally-occurring fluoride.

Fluoride is necessary for maintaining healthy enamel. When fluoride is deficient, the enamel is at risk and tooth decay is right around the corner.

Tooth decay, as you surely know by now, is guilty of causing the teeth to be discolored.

You can find fluoride in blue crab, grape juice, cola, black tea, shrimp, wine, and coffee. Many of the same things that can stain your teeth are also good for remineralizing your teeth. Go figure.

In the not-so-distant past, tap water would have made the list. However, many municipal sources have removed fluoride from the water because it can be harmful if ingested in high doses. This has also contributed to a rise in tooth decay among children.

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Dietary Needs to Avoid Tooth Discoloration

To make sure you have enough nutrients in your diet, just think about Skittles. Taste the rainbow, people.

Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, along with a variety of lean protein, and you should have plenty of vitamins and minerals in your diet.

Taste the rainbow and lower your risk of tooth discoloration.

Maybe I should say chew the rainbow. You cannot drink reds, rosés, burgundies, whites, or blushes. You heard me. Wine is not part of the rainbow.

There are some colorful things that stain your teeth. Wine is one of the biggest culprits. Wine, coffee, tea, soy sauce, dark colas—they are all guilty of causing stains on the teeth and really need to be chased by water to minimize the damage.

Acidic foods and drinks are hard on the teeth. They can weaken and stain the enamel when not rinsed off properly.

The same goes for sugary and starchy foods. Those types of food feed the bacteria in the mouth. And as we previously addressed, bacteria left unattended leads to tooth discoloration.

Are your teeth already discolored from a vitamin deficiency?

Before you do anything else, hopefully, you’ve already seen a dentist. If not, make sure you see one very soon and determine what you need to do to get healthy.

If you just want to take care of those stains, please check out some of the products SNOW offers. You will have whiter teeth in no time!

In the end, there’s just one more thing to say …

 black mom and her son smiling


Thanks, Mom. Those chewable vitamins helped to keep cavities away and contributed to a whiter smile.