Tooth discoloration and stains on your teeth are common occurrences that can happen for a variety of reasons. The good news? Many of these stains are treatable and preventable.

Here’s what you need to know about the causes of tooth discoloration and stains, and what you can do to keep your pearly whites looking their best.

Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic stains are also referred to as superficial stains, meaning they occur on the surface of the tooth. Certain stains, such as yellowing and mild brown spots, may occur due to the consumption of various staining products. Coffee, wine, tobacco, and certain fruits can cause extrinsic staining. These types of stains can be minimized or erased with professional teeth whitening and teeth whitening toothpaste.

Intrinsic Stains

This type of stain is located within the tooth, which makes it more resistant to over-the-counter whitening products. It often appears grayish. Examples of intrinsic stains include:

  • certain medications
  • trauma or injury to a tooth
  • tooth decay
  • too much fluoride
  • genetics

Yellow Teeth

Yellowing teeth are a normal part of life; teeth will yellow and darken as they age. The yellowing may also be a result of bruxism, also known as chronic teeth grinding. Over the years, the dentin layer of the teeth continually thickens, which results in yellowing teeth. When stress is put on the teeth, from grinding, then the dentin responds by forming more quickly.

White Spots

When white spots are found on a tooth’s surface, it usually indicates the beginning stages of tooth decay. The white spot may look dull and etched, especially compared to the rest of the tooth. The enamel is being demineralized from bacteria and acid, which will eventually cause a cavity. The white spots can also pick up extrinsic stains from coffee, tobacco, and other staining products.