Stained Teeth

How Do I Stop My Teeth From Staining?

Suffering from brown spots on your teeth? Coffee stains? An overall yellowish hue to your smile? Here are a few stain-prevention tips from our dentists:

  • Practice good dental hygiene habits
  • Stop smoking
  • Limit stain-causing foods and drinks like curry, wine, and tomato sauce. Rinse your mouth with water within 30 minutes after eating or drinking these stain-causing foods
  • Get your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months
  • Try a tooth-whitening toothpaste
  • Consult your dentist about a professional tooth whitening treatment

Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Stains


Are teeth naturally white?
Yes and no. Every tooth surface is covered with enamel, which has a natural white hue. However, the underlying dentin layer of your teeth has a more yellowish, brownish, reddish, or grayish color, and this underlying color determines the shade of your teeth. When the enamel on your teeth breaks down and thins out, this darker hue shows through. 

What causes teeth to stain?
Tooth discoloration is often the result of the foods you eat. Acidic foods and beverages are often to blame. In fact, coffee stains on teeth are one of the most well-known culprits. But tooth stains can develop from a variety of causes, including the medications you take, your genetics, and the natural aging process. We can help you understand the underlying causes of your stained teeth.

Are stained teeth unhealthy?
Not necessarily. Many people have stained teeth that are perfectly healthy. On the flip side, many people with poor dental health have perfectly white teeth. Additionally, tooth discoloration can sometimes be genetic. Without evaluating your individual dental health and health history, there’s no straightforward answer to this question.

Are teeth stains permanent?
No, but it does depend on the type of stain you’re suffering from. An extrinsic stain is a discoloration on the surface of the tooth. This can usually be easily taken care of with a professional cleaning. An intrinsic tooth stain refers to staining that has reached under your enamel. Intrinsic stains require a professional teeth whitening treatment to correct. In some cases, staining on your teeth can be so severe that even professional teeth whitening is not enough and a cosmetic option like veneers may be the better or only choice.

Over-The-Counter Vs. Professional Teeth Whitening

Tooth whitening is one of the most commonly requested services in our office, and we’re happy to help! But there are still many people who prefer to use over-the-counter whitening strips instead. Is this safe?

If you follow the instructions, don’t leave the bleaching agent on for too long, and don’t swallow it, then there’s no danger to using these types of strips. However, over-the-counter options are never as effective as a professional treatment, rarely reach all your teeth, and can cause severe sensitivity. If you prefer to use a teeth whitening strip, talk to us. Our dentists in Escondido, CA can recommend an ADA-approved option.

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