Tooth whitening and tooth staining


If your teeth seem to stain pretty easily and you are concerned that your new white fillings will stain like the previous ones, you can rest assured. You can manage this problem.

Find out what the source of staining

It is important to firstly ascertain the source of staining, so in the future, you can prevent it.  Tooth staining is quite complex. There are basically two major types of tooth discoloration or staining: internal (intrinsic), where the stain is built in the structure of the tooth, and external (extrinsic), where the tooth is affected from the outside.


The extrinsic staining happens because of microscopic pits, defects and fissures in the outer surface of the tooth’s outer layer (the enamel). The substances that stain the enamel layer arise from multiple sources: certain beverages and foods (red wine, tea and coffee in particular), tobacco, chromogenic oral bacteria, and a long list of medication. Also, if a person does not maintain a proper dental hygiene, the accumulation of plaque increase the staining. What is more interesting is that even the ingredients of certain dental cleaning products that can cause staining. Some mouthwashes contain chlorhexidine, which after long-term use, can cause dental staining (on composite resin, acrylic ad porcelain restorations). Even stannous fluoride, a used component for some toothpastes can also induce brown discoloration.

Saliva also plays an important role in removing food debris and lowering the acidity and bacteria levels in your mouth. With lower saliva levels you will experience a dry mouth. This can arise from a lot of causes such as large obstructions, radiation treatments, chemotherapy and a lot of medications.


Dental stains can result from different dental filling materials or from the condition of the tooth itself. As an example, if the tooth is mostly replaced by a filling material or had a root canal treatment done on it, it may lose its colour.

Finding the root of the staining

If you have had problems with staining, you can get the help of a dentist to determine the source of your staining. There are some clues that you can follow to determine whether your staining is intrinsic or extrinsic.

  • Extrinsic stains are coloured black, brown or grey
  • External stains can be removed by polishing, while internal stains cannot
  • Teeth that are intrinsic stained may be pink or red. With the ultraviolet light, the intrinsic staining may fluoresce yellow.

Treatment options

  • Habit and diet modifications. You should develop a strategy to modify or eliminate bad habits, such as tobacco use and the consumption of certain foods.
  • Twice a day oral You should brush your teeth twice daily, floss and rinse with mouthwashes. Use toothpastes that contain fluoride and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Dental tooth cleaning and polishing. Extrinsic stains can be removed with ultrasonic cleaning and polishing with abrasive prophylactic paste. Ask your dentist if you can undergo such a procedure
  • Fillings and restorations. Tooth discoloured by dental caries or dental material may require the removal of restorative or decayed materials and replaced by new materials of the proper
  • Tooth whitening (bleaching). This technique is completely safe and it can easily brighten your teeth. You can either do this at a dentist’s office or at home, but before undergoing this procedure, you should consult a dentist. Any untreated cavities or cracks in the teeth can make the procedure hurt a lot, because of the bleach that enters places it should not.

If you have teeth stains, ask your dentist what may be the source of your problem and what option you have to brighten your teeth.


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