Teeth Stains: Causes and Treatments

More and more people in the UK are turning to teeth whitening treatments to get a smile like Joey Essex and Simon Cowell. But if your teeth are yellow or brown instead of white, then read on to learn the cause of teeth stains and what to do about them.

Causes of stains

There are two types of staining: internal and external.

  • Internal staining is related to the inside of the tooth (the dentine). Unfortunately, this type of staining occurs with age, since dentine naturally gets darker and more yellow as you get older. Enamel also wears down with age which makes the yellow dentine more visible. Internal staining isn’t just age-related however – it can also occur due to genes, high fluoride levels, antibiotics, and developmental disorders.
  • External staining is related to the outside of the tooth (the enamel). This type of staining is mainly due to environmental factors, such as smoking, food and antibiotics.

Food is one of the main causes of external staining. Food stains usually occur when pigments called ‘tannins’ attach to the enamel. These tannins are found in substantial amounts in coffee, tea and red wine. Foods such as curry, pasta sauce and berries are also thought to stain teeth.

Tar in cigarettes is the other main cause of external staining. Tar causes a brown or black stain known as tobacco stain. Tobacco stains are difficult to clean, which means they will not come off with brushing. It’s best to stop smoking as soon as you can, but we also know how difficult it can be to stop. Nicotine replacements, exercise, chewing gum, and avoiding stress can help.

Staining treatments

The easiest way to keep your teeth white is by preventing staining in the first place. If you already have stained teeth however, then you might want to consider one of these staining treatments:

  • Brushing. Simply brushing with toothpaste removes most stains. However, you’ve probably noticed that brushing alone doesn’t remove stains entirely. Even if you brush twice a day, stains will still build up over months and years.
  • Scale and polish. The good news is that dentists can remove surface stains with a scale and polish. However, a scale and polish will not necessarily make your teeth white. This is because age-related issues such as darkening of the dentine mean you might have naturally yellow teeth.
  • Bleaching. If you’re looking for white Hollywood-style teeth, then you’ll want bleaching. This treatment is the best way to change the colour of your teeth from yellow to white. Keep in mind however that teeth bleaching only lasts a few months, after which you will need to get the teeth rebleached. Also, teeth bleaching doesn’t work on false teeth, fillings, veneers or crowns.
  • If you’d like to talk to us about tooth discoloration treatments, then don’t hesitate to contact us today. Also, remember that the best and safest place to get a bleaching treatment is from a dentist.


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