Why Do Our Teeth Get Stained?


There’s no denying that a gleaming white smile is a considerable asset, but sometimes attaining and maintaining that smile is easier said than done. If your teeth look less than pearly white, you may have wondered what caused them to become stained and discoloured.

Teeth staining can be due to a variety of reasons. Most often, it is down to a liking for highly coloured foods and drinks, such as tomato-based sauces, curries, berries, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, red wine, tea, and coffee. Very acidic foods and drinks can also stain your teeth, as the acids soften tooth enamel allowing stains to penetrate the enamel more easily. Tobacco use and smoking are well-known for staining teeth. Teeth can become stained due to exposure to tetracycline while teeth are still developing.

As you get older, you will notice that your teeth start to look yellower than before due to thinning tooth enamel that can occur because of acid erosion and other lifestyle factors. As the enamel thins, more of your natural tooth colour in the dentine underneath will shine. This is partly why we tend to associate a whiter smile with youth.

Sometimes when braces are removed after orthodontic treatment, teeth can look discoloured. However, it’s not orthodontics that causes this problem, as teeth staining can occur if you fail to clean around the brackets and wires thoroughly. Some people also find their teeth look discoloured if they have used a teeth whitening product while wearing braces, so teeth whiten unevenly around the brackets. If you are thinking of whitening your teeth while wearing fixed braces, it’s best to wait until you complete your treatment.

Can I Prevent My Teeth from Staining?

It is possible to slow down the rate of teeth staining by avoiding foods that could discolour your teeth, quitting smoking and ensuring you maintain a good oral care routine. You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing us regularly for checkups and cleanings. A professional dental cleaning is a great way to brighten your smile. We remove all plaque and tartar buildup and gently polish your teeth, removing some surface stains so your smile looks sparkly afterwards. It’s also an extremely good treatment for helping to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which is why we strongly recommend regular dental cleanings!

What about Teeth Whitening Treatments?

Teeth whitening is one of our most popular treatments, and it’s affordable, effective and safe. Before whitening your teeth, we always check your dental health to make sure treatment is appropriate and that you can whiten comfortably. There are two different ways to whiten your teeth; you can opt for an in-chair treatment, where we protect your lips and gums and paint your teeth with professional strength whitening gel designed to lift deep-seated stains quickly. Another option is to have a custom-made whitening kit containing mouth trays that fit tightly over your teeth and which you simply fill with our prescribed whitening gel. You wear the trays for a few hours each day or overnight and will soon start to see results. It’s ideal if you prefer to have greater control over the whitening process and can help people with sensitive teeth whiten more comfortably.