What Causes Stains on Teeth?

What Causes Stains on Teeth?

September 14, 2021 5 By mindmingles

What Stains Teeth Can be Surprising

Tooth discoloration is something many people struggle with. Sometimes, no matter what you do or how exceptional your oral hygiene is, your teeth still change color. That can surely be frustrating, and it is the reason why many people undergo teeth whitening at Juniper Dentistry

Folks are always very curious to find out what it is that stains their pearly whites. Blaming themselves is the first thing they do, though the fault isn’t always theirs. However, it can be. That’s why it’s essential to know what makes your teeth change color. Understanding that will help you avoid these causes if possible. 

We’re going to talk about the different kinds of tooth discoloration, what can cause them, and how you can prevent or treat them.

Types of Stains on Teeth

The first thing you should know is that there are multiple types of stains. They can be grouped like this:

  • Extrinsic
  • Intrinsic
  • Age-related

When it comes to extrinsic types of stains, they are located on the outside of the tooth, affecting only the enamel on the surface. With this in mind, you can probably assume what causes these stains. If you guessed foods, beverages, and tobacco, you’re correct! 

Of course, not all foods and drinks cause stains, but too much chocolate or red sauce can. When it comes to drinks, consuming too much tea or coffee can affect the color of your teeth. Of course, as long as you maintain good oral hygiene, you should be relatively fine.

On the other hand, intrinsic types of stains don’t affect only the enamel. These come from the inside of the tooth and can be a result of injuries, trauma, some medications, fluoride, tooth decay, or even genetics. 

When you notice intrinsic stains, you should know that most teeth whitening products more than likely won’t work. For something like this, you might need to visit a dentist. They will assess the situation, tell you the cause of the discoloration, fix the issue, or offer whitening treatments. 

Lastly, as you age, it’s natural for tooth enamel to start wearing away. However, that doesn’t exclude extrinsic and intrinsic types of stains either. So, if you’re a bit older and want whiter teeth, we recommend visiting your dentist to find out what the best option for you is.

What Do Different Colored Stains Mean?

You may have noticed that stains don’t come in only one color. Stains can be brown, white, black, yellow, and even purple. These colors depend on the cause of discoloration.

So, what causes brown stains on our gorgeous teeth? Brown spots on your teeth usually come from excessive use of tobacco. Still, they can have other causes like tartar buildup, consuming too much tea, coffee, or cola, and even eating too many blueberries or blackberries. Additionally, tooth decay can often appear brownish, so noticing a stain like this can be a great reason to visit a local dentist.

What causes white stains on teeth is most likely a cavity. We usually see cavities as black dots, but they actually start as white and then turn black. Plus, too much fluoride can also cause white spots, so be careful about the kind and amount of toothpaste you use.

When we see a black spot or a stain, it usually feels like a good time to panic. However, what causes black stains on teeth does not have to be a cavity. They can appear due to silver sulfide or liquid iron supplements. So, a black spot doesn’t always need to be a cause of concern.

Yellow stains are probably the most common. They are caused by smoking, medication, chronically dry mouth, a diet rich in processed sugars, and poor oral hygiene. So, brushing your teeth thoroughly and regularly with flossing can help eliminate some of these causes.

Lastly, we should mention purple stains, which aren’t so common. They can be a result of internal bleeding or a rather rare condition called Dentinogenesis Imperfecta. On the other hand, you may be drinking a bit too much wine too.

How to Treat Discolorations?

Luckily, you can treat and prevent discolorations. Some of the treatments include doing more than just brushing your teeth. What usually helps is teeth whitening procedures, which can be either in-office, at-home, or OTC products. 

At the dental office, your dentist will ensure that the procedure is done quickly. This kind of whitening will typically last you a long time, but not many people find it budget-friendly. However, this probably is the fastest and longest-lasting way for you to whiten your teeth.

At-home whitening can also go through your dentist. They can make a customized tray for you to put the gel in and wear as long as they recommend. For results, you may need to wear the trays for several weeks. So, this type of teeth whitening can be a bit time-consuming.

Over-the-counter products like strips, pens, and whitening toothpaste are likely the least effective. These can alter tooth color and remove extrinsic trains, but they will have little to no effect on intrinsic stains because they cannot reach that deep.

Still, whitening strips or other tooth whiteners may work and give you the results you want. So, you’re free to test the waters, but it’s always best to consult your dentist first and have them approve of your treatment of choice.

Preventing Discoloration Is Always an Option

We know it can be hard to prevent stains because there are so many things you should stay away from. Or is that really the case? It’s not that you need to stop drinking coffee or eating berries, but you should do everything in moderation.

When we have a balanced diet and take care of our teeth through good oral hygiene, we do everything in our power to keep them healthy and stain-free.