Teeth Stains, Types, Causes, Pictures, Prevention, Removal, Treatment & Home Remedies

Do you wonder why some people have discolored teeth? Find out the types of teeth stains you can have and their causes. Also, get insight into how you can prevent stains on your teeth and best way to remove stains from teeth in case yours are already stained.

What Are Teeth Stains? How Are They Formed?


Teeth stains refer to the discoloration of teeth resulting in overall shades or sports of undesirable pigments on the surface of or inside the teeth that are different from the natural color of teeth. Teeth stains are also commonly referred to as teeth discoloration. Teeth stains are formed when substances causing them stick on the surface of the teeth or when they creep into and gather within the enamel of tooth. The stains typically manifest themselves in yellow, brown, white, green and grey colors among other shades. The color of the stains formed on teeth mainly depend on the causes of the stains.

Teeth Stain Types – Extrinsic and Intrinsic Teeth Stains

There are two main types of main types of stains on teeth: intrinsic teeth stains and extrinsic teeth stains.

Extrinsic Teeth Stains

Extrinsic teeth stains
Extrinsic teeth stains

This is the discoloration of the teeth that occurs when tiny the particles causing the stains stick on the surface of the tooth. This means the tooth is affected by the stain externally. Extrinsic staining arises due to the buildup of stain-causing substances in the small dents and cracks on the outer surface of tooth enamel. Extrinsic stains may be identified as they usually manifest themselves in brown, black or gray colors though they may sometimes be orange, green or yellow.

Intrinsic Teeth Stains

Intrinsic teeth stains
Intrinsic teeth stains

This discoloration of the teeth occurs when the tiny particles causing the stains infiltrate and collect within the enamel of tooth. In this case, the tooth is affected internally by the stain. Teeth with intrinsic stains may be red or pink or shiny yellow. Intrinsic stain is suspected in case only some (especially one) teeth are affected

Teeth Stains Causes –Why Teeth Stain

Yellow teeth stains
Yellow teeth stains

What causes teeth to stain? There are many causes of teeth stains. According to Web media, dentists say that any substance that can stain a white cotton material can also stain teeth.  The more intense the color of a substance, the more potential it has for staining. Acidic substances, which may not be pigmented, also promote teeth staining as the acid in them is instrumental in corroding the enamel and softening it making it easier for stain causing substances (chromogens) to attack and stain the tooth. The following are the common causes of teeth stains:

Foods and beverages

Certain foods and beverages are known to cause stain on teeth. The compounds which make up the foods may have teeth staining substance or substances that promote staining of teeth.  Some of the foods that stain teeth include:

Woman taking coffee - Beverages such as tea and coffee are common causes of
Woman taking coffee – Beverages such as tea and coffee are common causes of teeth stains
  • Coffee has chromogens and tannins, which are active causes of teeth stains.
  • Tea, particularly black tea, is known to have chromogens and tannins also causes teeth stain
  • Wine, especially red wine, which contains chromogens and tannins, is very instrumental in staining teeth although white wine may also encourage teeth staining.
  • Cola can cause considerable teeth staining given that it contains teeth staining substance. Cola is also carbonated and hence acidic, the more reason why it may cause serious teeth staining.
  • Colored sauces g. tomato sauce and curry sauce are deeply pigmented and hence are likely to stain on teeth.
  • Colored fruits, for instance, blackberries and grapes, and the drinks made from them are also among the causes of teeth stains



Tobacco causes nicotine stains on teeth whether smoked or chewed. The two substances in tobacco that cause stains on teeth are nicotine and tar. While nicotine is essentially colorless, it becomes yellowish once it combines with oxygen gas, causing yellow teeth stains. Similarly, tar, which is naturally dark matter resulting from smoking or chewing tobacco, causes dark spots on teeth. Tobacco stains on teeth are common among tobacco smokers.

Oral bacteria

Poorly cleaned teeth may result in the accumulated dental plaque (sticky deposit on teeth) in which bacteria and fungi multiply and produce color that forms green and orange stains.

Certain Medications

Tetracycline teeth stains
Tetracycline teeth stains

Some medications may lead to tooth stains as a side effect. Common medications that may cause stains on teeth include:

  • Excessive use of fluoride
  • Tetracycline and doxycycline have been associated with intrinsic teeth stains, especially in children. They usually cause yellow or brown spots, patches or lines spread across the surface of teeth.
  • High blood pressure and antipsychotic drugs may likewise cause discolored teeth
  • Brown or gray staining may be as a result of changes that have occurred within the tooth’s nerve. These changes may be caused by root canal treatment. In most cases only those teeth affected by changes become stained.

Tooth decay

Failing to brush your teeth or floss regularly may lead to tooth decay. Tooth decay can result in white, yellow, brown or black stains on teeth. The teeth lose luster from their surface due to infiltration of the colored substances produced during the decay process.


As one becomes more and more aged, the outer layer of tooth enamel erodes leaving the inner layer (dentin) which is yellower. The teeth then appear to be having yellow teeth stain.

Genetic factors

Some reasons why teeth stain may be due to genetic related issues. Some people are predisposed to have discolored teeth due to their genetic make-up. Others may have thinner enamel making their teeth susceptible to attack from stain causing substances.

Poor hygiene

If residues buildup on the surface of your teeth, they may cause white, yellow, dark, brown, black, and even green teeth staining, depending on the color of the residues.

Dental restorations

Some dental restoration works such as crowns, onlays, inlays and veneers may fail to work or deteriorate, causing formation of yellow, brown, gray and even black spots on teeth.  These stains are often associated with teeth decay caused by the failed teeth restoration. White fillings can experience staining with time. Metal fillings can too cause of tooth staining.

Teeth Trauma

Chipped, broken or cracked teeth can darken due to enamel damage or a dead nerves. Enamel damage may be caused by accidents, attack from acids that may be present in foods and drinks or even during dental surgery, especially one involving root canal. It could be teeth trauma especially if you have a one or two of your teeth darkening while the rest are fine.

How to Prevent Teeth Stains – Best Practices to Prevent stain on teeth

It is said prevention is better than cure. You need to appreciate that prevention is not only easier but also cheaper. Instead of waiting until your teeth are stained in order to take an action, avoid the formation the stains by following simple instructions:

How to floss teeth to prevent teeth stains
Man flossing teeth to prevent teeth stains

Diet and habit adjustment — Stop tobacco smoking and regulate the consumption of foods that are known to cause or contribute to the staining of teeth.

Oral hygiene — regularly brush your teeth at least twice a day, and if possible after every meal, using appropriate toothpaste helps to prevent teeth staining. Most toothpastes now contain anti-staining and teeth-whitening agents.

Teeth cleaning — embrace professional teeth cleaning and followed by polishing using approved cleaning and polishing agents. Use an appropriate string to clean the spaces between teeth to prevent stain between adjacent teeth.

Teeth Stain Removal – How to Get Rid of teeth stains

If you yearn to know how to get rid of teeth stains, below is a list of teeth stain removal methods. The choice of the methods depends on the type of teeth stains or simply what works for you or what best suits. Teeth whitening cost may also influence your choice. You may also prefer teeth stain removal at home or professional teeth whitening. Others may still want to get advice from teeth stain removal dentist. Teeth stain treatment methods and means include:

Teeth stains causes and treatment
Teeth stains causes and treatment
  • Use of teeth whitening agents/teeth bleaching agents – There are two types of methods of whitening/bleaching teeth: vital for extrinsic stains and non-vital for teeth stains connected with root canal treatment.
  • Use of teeth stain removal powder
  • Use of tooth stain erasers
  • Use of teeth whitening Kits
  • Use of teeth stain removal strips or teeth whitening stripes
  • Use of teeth stain removal toothpaste or teeth whitening toothpastes
  • Home Remedies for example baking soda, lemon, strawberries, apples, charcoal, carrots, banana peel, aloe vera, turmeric and raisins
  • Some foods for instance, apples, pears, and carrots, and c sugarless gum cause a lot of saliva in the mouth, which in turn wash away food remains on your teeth.
  • Teeth restoration — use of crowns, onlays, inlays and veneers and bridges can be used to conceal teeth stains especially those caused by decay. This is achieved only if the teeth restoration does not backfire and be counter-production which surprisingly leads to formation of stains on teeth instead of treating the tooth stains, as we have already discussed earlier in this post.