What To Do About Tooth Stains

Certain habits, foods, and drinks can make your teeth stain darker over time. Below are common causes of tooth stains, ways to prevent them, and common tooth whitening treatments.

Common Dietary Causes of Tooth Stains:

Think of it this way: If a food or drink could stain your favorite shirt, then there’s a good chance it could also stain your teeth over time. The most common dietary causes of tooth stains are:

  • -Dark liquids like coffee, tea, red wine, and even grape or cranberry juice.

  • -Dark sauces like soy or tomato sauce.

  • -Dark or bright-colored candies. If it stains your tongue, it can also stain your teeth.

  • -Acidic foods and drinks like soda, citrus foods, and vinegar soften the enamel, making it easier for stains to sink in.

  • -Blueberries and blackberries

How to Prevent Tooth Stains:

  • -Drink through a straw.

  • -Brush after drinking or eating.

  • -Swirl water around in your mouth if you can’t brush after eating.

  • -Don’t let staining foods sit on your teeth. For example, when you take a sip of coffee, swallow right away.

Dental Treatments for Tooth Stains:

Most tooth whiteners use hydrogen peroxide as their active ingredient. Store-bought whiteners are less expensive than in-office whitening treatments, but they take longer to work, and can cause irritation from repeated use. For very dark tooth stains, seeing a dentist is recommended.

The most common types of tooth whitening treatments are:

  • -Whitening Strips: These are plastic strips that are worn over the teeth for a few minutes per day. Treatment time is usually 3 to 14 days.

  • -Paint-On Whiteners: This whitener uses a gel that is painted onto the teeth with a small brush. Treatment time is usually 7 to 30 days.

  • -Whitening Gels or Trays: This method requires the user to fill trays with peroxide gel, and wear them over the teeth for several minutes a day. Treatment time is usually 14 to 30 days.

  • -In-Office Teeth Whitening: These treatments can make teeth several shades whiter in just one treatment using a combination of peroxide gels and UV light.

You can stop tooth stains before they start by making changes in your diet. But if you want to get rid of old stains, consider a store-bought whitener or ask your dentist about in-office whitening treatments.

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