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Know about Teeth Stains Properly with This Handy Guide

While there are various methods to achieve a whiter smile, it’s equally important to understand what causes teeth discoloration: stains. Some common causes of teeth staining are smoking, drinking coffee or tea, and not practicing proper oral hygiene. Once you understand what’s causing your teeth to discolor, you can choose the best solution, like going to the dentist.

Some are more difficult to take out than others, and the type of stain you have will determine the best whitening solution. If you have a difficult mark, you may need to try a few different solutions before you find one that works.

Here are the kinds of stains you’ll come across throughout your life.


An extrinsic tooth stain is on the surface of the tooth or the outside of the tooth. Even though the enamel is a tooth’s hardest part, it still comes into contact with everything you consume. Over time, the pigmented residue from food and beverages builds up and is absorbed by the enamel, which creates a stain.

Many things can cause tooth discoloration, but some of the most common include coffee, cola, and dark-colored fruits and juices. Additionally, starchy foods like pasta and potatoes can also lead to staining. If you have porous teeth or thinning enamel, you are more likely to experience extrinsic stains.

A straw can help limit staining on your teeth from potential stain-causing liquids. Rinsing your mouth with water immediately after ingesting them will also remove pigmented particles from the surface of your teeth before they can be absorbed and cause stains. Regular dental cleanings and teeth whitening products like whitening toothpaste can usually remove extrinsic stains.


On the other hand, intrinsic tooth stains occur on the inside of the tooth, on the dentin layer. This can happen when the dentin becomes stained. Common causes include:

  • Tooth decay is a condition that causes teeth to break down and become damaged. It is usually caused by plaque, which produces acids that eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Tooth decay can also lead to pulp necrosis when the inner pulp of the tooth dies. This can cause the entire tooth to become discolored.
  • Certain medications can cause teeth to become discolored, especially in young children whose teeth are still developing. These include antibiotics that contain tetracycline and doxycycline, as well as some antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs, and antihypertensive medications.
  • Tooth trauma is when damage is caused to the teeth, leading to the teeth darkening or becoming discolored.


A curious kind of teeth staining is age-related. Externally, our teeth can become stained from the foods and drinks we consume. Internally, our tooth enamel gets thinner, and our dentin starts to yellow. This makes it easier for stains to show through. You’re more likely to have stained teeth if you smoke or drink coffee, tea, or red wine.

So while they may be intrinsic at first glance, they are biologically caused, especially if you are above 50 years. To combat these stains, it is best to use more intensive whitening techniques that target dentin. Professional cleanings every six months can also remove surface stains and help to prevent age-related dental problems.

Schedule Yourself for the Best Whitening Session with a Dentist at Manassas, VA

Manassas Smiles provides patients like you with a full range of dental services like cosmetic, periodontic, and endodontics, all under one roof, to guarantee optimal oral health. Book your appointment through our website or call us at (703) 335-1020 to get in touch with a dentist from Manassas, VA!

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