What Are the Different Kinds of Tooth Stains?

brian rich dmd

Whether you like it or not, you’ll develop tooth stains at some point. Besides regular tobacco use, the most common culprit for stained and discolored teeth include highly-pigmented foods and beverages. While teeth whitening in Knoxville, TN, can brighten up your pearly whites, understanding the different types of tooth stains and why they occur will help you keep your sparkling white smile for as long as possible.

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A Closer Look at the Different Types of Tooth Stains

Extrinsic Tooth Stains

Extrinsic tooth stains develop on the tooth’s outermost layer, the enamel. They show on the outside of a tooth and can produce a yellow discoloration. Furthermore, lifestyle and diet choices such as smoking or chewing tobacco and drinking coffee, tea, and red wine can leave extrinsic stains on your teeth.

Your cosmetic dentist can treat extrinsic tooth stains using regular dental cleanings and professional teeth whitening solutions.

Intrinsic Tooth Stains

Intrinsic tooth stains occur when the inside of each tooth, known as the dentin, starts to turn yellow or darken over time. In most cases, intrinsic stains result from tooth decay, excessive fluoride ingestion during early childhood, trauma to teeth during development, bleeding inside teeth, dentinogenesis imperfecta, and using tetracycline and certain medications.  

Since these stains are ingrained in the tooth’s structure, they’re more difficult to remove than extrinsic stains. In other words, they don’t respond to teeth whitening as extrinsic stains do. For this reason, most cosmetic dentists recommend using other cosmetic options, such as dental veneers, bonding, and crowns, to cover up these deep, longstanding, set-in tooth stains.

Natural Tooth Stains

Natural tooth stains, also known as age-related stains, result from extrinsic and intrinsic stains. As you grow older, your enamel wears down, and your yellow-colored dentin underneath it will show through, making your teeth look yellow. Moreover, years of eating and drinking dark-colored foods will leave dark stains on your teeth’s surface.

The good news is that your cosmetic dentist will gladly guide you on the best options for treating natural tooth stains.

Effective Ways to Prevent Stains on Teeth

Brush After Each Meal

You’ll reduce your risk of keeping stains on your teeth if you ensure regular and conscientious brushing after every meal. While at it,  be sure to apply small, circular strokes instead of using a back-and-forth motion to avoid wearing away the gums around the teeth, exposing the gum line, and wearing down your teeth and root surfaces.

Keep Your Plaque Quotient in Check

Rinsing your mouth with a disclosing solution from your dentist allows you to find where plaque is present on your teeth even after brushing. Unless you improve your brushing technique, your teeth will likely stain on those spots.

Sip Through a Straw

Consider drinking your coffee, tea, or dark-colored beverages through a straw to avoid staining or restaining your teeth. Although drinking your fine red wine through a straw may not be fun, it allows you to limit your exposure.

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Considering Teeth Whitening in Knoxville, TN?

Dr. Brian Rich, DMD, is passionate about helping patients achieve the smile they want the world to see. Whether you’re coming in for a teeth whitening session or a dental implant placement, Dr. Rich and his team are here for you. Make an appointment with our office to give your oral health a boost.

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