Why Do Our Teeth Become Stained?

One of the most common reasons a patient seeks cosmetic treatment is to brighten his/her smile. Teeth stains can lead to patients being self-conscious or even avoiding laughing or smiling around friends or family. We can mask or remove discoloration with cosmetic treatments, however, to keep your smile bright you need to understand how discoloration happens. Why do our teeth become stained? Can we take steps to avoid this?

Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Stains

Question: What are intrinsic stains?

Answer: Intrinsic teeth stains actually occur beneath the outer enamel. Also known as permanent teeth stains, these sometimes require a restoration to mask them as severe intrinsic discoloration can be difficult for whitening to address. Injury to the teeth, the use of certain medications (such as tetracycline), and fluorosis can all lead to permanent discoloration.

Question: Can certain foods or drinks stain our teeth?

Answer: Yes. These happen on the surface and are known as extrinsic stains. Foods high in sugar and other starches can increase the risk of plaque buildup, which makes stains more apparent. Drinks with dark pigments, such as coffee, soda, red wine, and tea can also stain the teeth. Fruit juice and berries are also common cause of discoloration.

Question: Will smoking lead to discoloration?

Answer: Yes. When you smoke or use tobacco products you can stain your teeth. In addition, smoking also lead to a higher risk of oral, lung, and throat cancer. We suggest you stop smoking or using tobacco products right away.

Question: How do I reduce the severity of teeth stains?

Answer: You need to watch what you eat and drink. You also need to take better care of your smile. We suggest having your teeth examined and cleaned once every six months. You should also brush and floss your teeth daily.