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Article: The Different Types of Teeth Stains and How to Remove Them

The Different Types of Teeth Stains and How to Remove Them

The Different Types of Teeth Stains and How to Remove Them

A bright, white smile is something many people strive for. Unfortunately, perfectly pearly whites aren't always a given. At Spotlight Oral Care, we understand how stained teeth can make anyone feel less confident about their smile. But don't worry, understanding the different types of stains is the first step toward finding the right solution to get your teeth gleaming again.

Why Do Teeth Stain?

Let's face it, teeth don't stay their brightest forever. Various factors can cause those unwelcome stains, including:

  • Foods/drinks: Everyday favorites like coffee, tea, wine, dark sodas and even vibrantly coloured fruits and vegetables can leave their mark on enamel.
  • Tobacco use: Smoking or chewing tobacco often leads to significant staining
  • Poor dental hygiene: Not brushing, flossing and rinsing thoroughly lets plaque build up, which can attract stains.
  • Disease: Certain diseases affecting enamel (the tooth's hard outer surface) and dentin (the material underneath) can cause discoluration. Some medical treatments may also have this side effect.

Let's look into the specific types of tooth stains you might be dealing with...

Types of Tooth Stains

It's not just about whether your teeth are stained – the kind of stain matters! Here's a breakdown of the culprits behind a less-than-sparkling smile:

Extrinsic Stains

These are the "surface dwellers." Think of them like a colourful spill on a white shirt. They come from things like food, drinks, and tobacco, and they stick to the outer layer of your teeth (the enamel). The good news? They're usually removable with professional cleaning or whitening.

Intrinsic Stains

These stains are tougher customers. They live deep within your tooth's structure and are caused by things like ageing, medications, diseases, or sometimes even genetics.  They won't budge with just a good cleaning – you'll likely need professional whitening to tackle them.

Age-Related Stains

Over time, enamel naturally thins, revealing the yellowish dentin underneath. Think of a favourite comfy T-shirt that's faded with age. While sometimes you can improve age-related stains with whitening, sometimes the best option is covering them up with veneers or crowns for a brand-new smile.

Now, let's talk about solutions! Knowing what kind of stain you have will help you choose the best way to make those teeth shine again.

How to Remove the Different Types of Teeth Stains

Now that you're armed with knowledge about stain types, let's explore how to combat them!

Extrinsic Stains:

  • Daily Defence: Building a strong daily defence routine is key to stopping these surface stains from taking hold. Consistent brushing and flossing with a fluoride toothpaste removes food particles and plaque that can attract stains. To give your whitening efforts an extra boost, consider incorporating a whitening toothpaste or mouthwash from Spotlight Oral Care. Our specially formulated products gently remove surface stains while strengthening enamel for a brighter, healthier smile
  • Professional Cleaning: For those stubborn extrinsic stains that just won't budge with home care, a professional cleaning by your dentist can polish them away and leave your smile sparkling.

Intrinsic Stains:

  • Professional Power for Deeper Stains: Intrinsic stains often require a more powerful approach. Here's where professional in-office bleaching or laser whitening treatments from your dentist come in. These treatments can penetrate deeper into the tooth surface to tackle those internal discolourations.

Age-Related Stains:

  • Whitening with Realistic Expectations: Sometimes, professional whitening treatments like those offered by your dentist can lighten age-related stains. However, it's important to have realistic expectations. Due to the natural thinning of enamel, the results may not be as dramatic as with other types of stains.
  • Covering Up for a Dazzling Smile: If the age-related discolouration is severe, veneers or crowns can be a fantastic option. These dental restorations essentially act as a new, white surface for your teeth, giving you a dazzling smile that's like hitting the reset button on staining.

Understanding Stain-Causing Foods & Drinks

The foods and beverages we love can sometimes have an unwelcome effect on the brightness of our smiles. Knowing which items are the most likely culprits can help you make informed choices and take steps to minimise their impact on your teeth. Check out this handy guide to common stain-causing foods and drinks, organised by why and how they contribute to discolouration:



Why They Stain

Intense Pigments

Coffee, black tea, red wine, grape juice, cranberry juice, blueberries, blackberries, pomegranates, cherries, beets, tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, curries

Contain deep, rich colours that easily adhere to teeth

Acidic Offenders

Citrus fruits/juices, sodas (even clear ones), sports drinks, tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, white wine, some fruits (pineapple, kiwi)

Weaken enamel temporarily, making teeth more vulnerable to stains from any source


Coffee, black tea, red wine

Tannins are compounds that help stains bind to the teeth

Unexpected Sources

Popsicles, brightly coloured hard candies, flavoured mouthwashes (if they contain dyes), chewing tobacco, betel nut

May contain strong dyes, adhere to teeth, or cause direct chemical staining

Remember, Prevention is Key!  No matter the type of stain you're dealing with, prevention is always the best strategy. Here's how to minimise future stains and keep your smile bright:

  • Limit staining foods and drinks, like coffee, tea, and red wine.
  • Maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine with brushing, flossing, and using a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Consider incorporating Spotlight Oral Care's at-home whitening solutions, like our whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, and pens, into your routine for a safe and effective way to maintain a bright smile.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings to remove any buildup and keep your oral health in top shape.

Reclaim Your Smile

Understanding the types of stains that can affect your smile is the first step to finding the most effective solutions. Remember, good oral hygiene habits, like brushing, flossing and using Spotlight Oral Care's whitening products, are your secret weapon to preventing stains and keeping your teeth white.

For more stubborn discolouration, a visit to your dentist can address those deeper stains or explore options to cover them completely.

By following these tips and choosing the whitening solutions that are right for you, you can achieve a smile that is bright, healthy and a true reflection of your confidence!