Stains and Discolorations of Teeth

in Teeth

The society today has become more appearance conscious than ever, and one of the greatest contributing factors to our appearance is our smile. Though we might not directly claim that our teeth hold our smile, but it does. The color of teeth and its structure matters when your appearance is concerned. It can actually benefit your appearance if you have pearly white set of teeth or simply pull you down if you have stained or discolored teeth.  There are many mediums of teeth whitening available today, including whitening toothpastes, chewing gums, take-home whitening trays and the whitening treatments done in the dental office. However, the main concern lies in understanding the cause of stained and discolored teeth.

There are different types of stains occurring on the teeth. In fact, these stains or discolorations have been classified into 2 broad categories – Extrinsic stains and Intrinsic stains.

Extrinsic stains usually occur on the outer layers of our teeth, which are known as the enamel. These stains might range from yellow tints to white streaks or even brown pts and spots. On the other hand, intrinsic stains occur in the internal structure of the teeth, which is known as the dentin. As the dentin develops stains, it appears to be dark yellow or gray in color.

Causes of Stains and Discolorations of Teeth

It is very important to recognize the main causes of tooth discoloration in order to remove it and manage it effectively. Some of the prominent causes f stained teeth as identified by experts are:


  • The regular foods and drinks we consume, such as tea, coffee, cola, wine and some typical foods like cherries, potatoes and blueberries. These foods are mainly responsible for causing extrinsic stains. However, these stains usually go away over time.
  • Certain lifestyle habits like smoking and tobacco chewing are also responsible for causing stained teeth. It often results in discoloration of teeth that can be difficult to get rid of.
  • Medications like antidepressants, antihistamines and tetracycline results in stained teeth color. These are usually very stubborn stains that can be difficult to remove.
  • Poor dental care is also responsible for developing stains. It is important to brush your teeth regularly and floss from time to time to remove stains producing elements and plaque.
  • Diseased teeth or gums can affect the dentin and enamel to cause discoloration.
  • Aging is one of the uncontrollable factors that often results in stained teeth. As you age, your teeth tend to wear and the yellow dentin is exposed. This result in the accumulation of more tartars and stains, thereby causing darker teeth color.
  • The presence of fluoride in the environment has also been considered to be a cause of stains appearing on the teeth. Fluoride is present in water as a natural source, which can result in discolored teeth. The use of fluoride based applications, toothpastes and rinses can also be the cause of stained teeth.


Eating healthy and crunchy foods, maintaining proper oral hygiene and care and visiting the dentist twice a year can be helpful in retaining the natural color of your teeth. However, if that does not help, you can try any of the teeth whitening options available today for best results.

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david morgan has 9 articles online

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Stains and Discolorations of Teeth

This article was published on 2011/10/27