Woman brushing her teeth to remove teeth stains article banner

We all like a nice set of pearly white teeth. But the reality is that over time, due to our eating habits and lifestyle choices we tend to have discolouration on our teeth or teeth stains. The good part, however, is that most teeth stains and discolouration can be rectified and even prevented.

Types of teeth stains

First, let’s look at the types of teeth stains or teeth discolouration. This will help you figure out the category your teeth stains fall under1.

  1. Intrinsic:

    When you have discolouration that is within your teeth, it is an intrinsic teeth stain. Teeth often look greyish and the reasons could be due to genetics, specific medication, injury to tooth or tooth decay

  2. Extrinsic:

    In extrinsic teeth discolouration, the stains you see on your teeth are only on the surface of your teeth or tooth enamel. The most likely causes of extrinsic teeth stains are food, beverages and tobacco.

  3. Due to age:

    As you grow older, the enamel of your teeth wears off and weakens, resulting in your teeth appearing yellowish. Most of the times, teeth discolouration due to age is a result of intrinsic or extrinsic factors, or a combination of both.

Causes of stained teeth

There are a host of reasons why you could end up with teeth stains – from improper oral health to poor lifestyle choices. Here are some common causes of teeth discolouration or teeth stains.

  1. Food and beverages:

    There are specific foods that can penetrate and remain in the outer layers of your teeth, resulting in staining. Consuming these foods frequently will increase the chances of staining your teeth. Some of the biggest stain-causing foods are:

    • Red wine

    • Red sauces

    • Coffee

    • Tea

    • Chocolate

  2. Smoking/Chewing tobacco:

    Another major cause of teeth staining is chewing tobacco and smoking.

  3. Medication or treatment:

    Certain types of medication or diseases can affect the tooth enamel and cause discolouration. For instance, chemotherapy and radiation treatment often cause discolouration in teeth. Certain antibiotics, when given to children whose teeth are still developing, can result in discolouration of teeth at a young age.

  4. Age:

    As mentioned earlier, as you age, your enamel weakens and the natural colour of your dentin gets exposed.

  5. Genetics:

    Some people have naturally bright teeth or thicker or softer enamel. The ones having softer enamel may have discoloured teeth easily.

How to remove teeth stains?

For those who have teeth discolouration and want to remove it, here are a few ways how you can get rid of stains on teeth2.

  1. You can opt to use some easily accessible over-the-counter teeth whitening agents to whiten your teeth such as whitening strips or toothpaste. Ask your dentist to suggest the right product for you.

  2. Professional teeth whitening too is an option wherein your dentist will bleach your teeth.

  3. Veneers are another option. They are thin shells that are placed over the front side of your teeth. You could do this to change the colour or shape of your teeth.

  4. Brush and floss your teeth daily. Try the Oral-B Sensitive Whitening Toothbrush which comes equipped with centre bristles that help remove tough surface stains. The toothbrush is designed to be soft on gums and tough on plaque. Its unique cup shaped bristles have a better reach inside the mouth for a thorough clean, giving your perfect pearly whites.

How to prevent teeth staining?

Why wait till you see stains on your teeth to take action? Incorporate some simple steps and follow a proper oral care routine to prevent any kind of tooth discolouration. And even if you already have some stains, good oral care habits will only help you minimise the effects and prevent further damage. Here are some basics to get you started:

  1. Avoid foods causing teeth stains as far as possible. If you do want to consume some owing to their nutritional benefits, make sure you brush and floss your teeth immediately after eating. If you prefer using an electric toothbrush, you can opt for Oral-B Vitality Series Electric Toothbrush for a comprehensive clean. Its round head oscillates and rotates effectively between your teeth to remove plaque. This is a great everyday toothbrush for your daily oral hygiene routine.

  2. Adhere to good oral care practices such as such as brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. A good anti-bacterial mouthwash is a great addition as it helps eliminate any remaining food particles that could be potential teeth stainers.

  3. Make healthy lifestyle choices. If you smoke or chew tobacco, no number of teeth whitening products can help you. You should consider avoiding or quitting the use of such products that can cause damage to your teeth.

Teeth discolouration is a common dental issue that almost everyone faces. While there are a good number of teeth whitening treatments available, practicing a proper oral hygiene routine is always a good start.


  • Can tooth stains be removed?

    Typically, the teeth stains that appear on the outer layers of your teeth can be removed or minimised using over-the-counter teeth whitening products or in-clinic procedures conducted and suggested by a dentist.

  • What causes staining?

    The main cause of teeth staining and discolouration is foods such as tea, coffee, red wine, red sauces etc. Other causes include genetics, age and unhealthy habits such as smoking and chewing tobacco.

  • How do you remove stains between teeth?

    Practicing good oral care is one of the best ways to remove stains between your teeth. Brushing twice a day and flossing are good practices to start with.