Tips & Techniques, Wellness / Self-Care

How to get rid of Tooth stains

So long yellow gunk.

words by: Natasha Marsh
May 18, 2022

How often do you think about your oral hygiene? If you’re like me and the average consumer, the number is very low, if nonexistent. However, if you are experiencing irritation in your mouth, or yellowing of your teeth, oral hygiene might be a little more top of mind.


Yellowing and teeth stains can be so aggressive, many lose confidence to smile. Annoyingly, sometimes it isn’t even what we do that causes yellowing. It could be a variety of lifestyle habits and diets that could worsen even the best teeth brushing habits. And add in smoking, coffee, black tea, red wine, and other potent food items that could contribute to stains. If you have long been searching for the answer, look no further than the below guide on how to get back to bright, pearly whites again.


What are tooth stains?

The change in color occurs when the surface of the tooth, or enamel, develops a stain. Stains can fall into two categories: Extrinsic (appears on surface of tooth) and intrinsic (occurs below the surface of the teeth).


Extrinsic stains can happen from a buildup from certain foods, drinks, or smoking. Think highly pigmented food, like wine, coffee, and black tea. Whereas, intrinsic stains are from stain-causing particles that penetrate the surface of the tooth and grow within the enamel — think medication and poor oral hygiene habits.


The way to think about stains is to understand the tooth as a whole. Teeth have layers. The first is enamel. Directly underneath is dentin. This layer can darken, yellow, brown, or gray. When enamel erodes, it will show the color of the dentin. If yours is already colored, it will show that.


So how do you treat stains?

Opting for a whitening gel, in-office teeth whitening, polishing toothpaste, whitening mouth rinse, custom-fitted whitening trays, or whitening toothpaste is the first place to start. Regular dental cleaning is also a good option to prevent stains and help mitigate bad ones. Essentially, these drugstore or over-the-counter options can help penetrate through the enamel and dentin. In effect, removing the coloring that had occurred.


If you find your teeth are always yellowing, regardless of what you are doing or avoiding, you might have black chromogenic staining. This is certainly less common and has more to do with iron in your saliva. To cure this staining condition, see a dentist or invest in a fluoride toothpaste.


Avoid these 3 mistakes the next time you brush your teeth.


Photo via iStock