What Causes Teeth Staining?

Cosmetic & Family Dentist Serving Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Draper & Nearby Utah

Posted: August 5, 2019

Man with white teethNobody wants their teeth to stain. If your teeth are a color such as dull yellow rather than brilliant, sparkling white, you may be embarrassed to smile. Yellow teeth can also harm your self-confidence and thereby affect your social life.

Numerous dietary and lifestyle choices can lead to teeth staining. This blog breaks down the most common causes of stained teeth, how you can prevent it, and what you can do to restore a shining white smile.

Different Types of Teeth Stains

Teeth stains are divided into two categories. They have different causes and can be treated in different ways. The different types of stains are:

  • Extrinsic teeth stains: These occur when the surface layer of your teeth, the enamel, becomes discolored.
  • Intrinsic teeth stains: These are stains below the surface of your tooth that occur when stain-causing bacteria accumulates beneath your enamel. Intrinsic stains are typically harder to remove than extrinsic stains.

What Causes Extrinsic Teeth Stains?

Extrinsic stains are caused by the buildup of stain-causing bacteria from food, drink, and other sources on the enamel of your teeth. Causes of extrinsic stains include:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Soda
  • Candy
  • Ice cream
  • Cigarettes
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Certain medications, including antihistamines, blood pressure medication, and chemotherapy drugs
  • Poor dental hygiene practices

Removing Extrinsic Teeth Stains

Many extrinsic stains can be treated through vigilant self-care. It's critical to practice proper dental hygiene, including:

  • Brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice per day
  • Flossing at least once per day
  • Rinsing daily with an antibacterial mouthwash

If you don't currently have a consistent oral hygiene regimen, improving that could go a long way toward improving your teeth stains. You could also explore dietary changes.

At-home bleaching kits may also be useful. Your best bet, though, is a professional teeth whitening from your dentist.

What Causes Intrinsic Teeth Stains?

Intrinsic stains are caused when the inner structure of your tooth yellows. This may happen for a number of reasons, including:

  • Too much exposure to fluoride during early childhood, before enamel has formed
  • Exposure to certain medications, such as tetracycline antibiotics, during pregnancy or at a young age
  • Trauma in a tooth

Removing Intrinsic Teeth Stains

You will likely be unable to remove intrinsic teeth stains through regular dental hygiene practices or at-home teeth whitening treatments. Your first step should be to seek professional teeth whitening from your dentist.

If professional teeth whitening doesn't eliminate your intrinsic stains, covering the stained teeth with porcelain veneers may be your best option.

Schedule Your Salt Lake City Teeth Whitening Consultation Today

At Warr Dental, board-certified dentist Dr. Keith N. Warr has more than 20 years of experience helping his patients achieve brilliant, white smiles. He is part of a 50-year tradition in Salt Lake City, having taken over the practice his father founded in 1957, and he's dedicated to providing his patients with the best that cosmetic dentistry has to offer.

Professional teeth whitening from Dr. Warr could help give you a smile you're proud to show off. Dr. Warr serves Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Draper, and nearby areas of Utah. Call (801) 355-5385 today to schedule a consultation.