Why Your Teeth Become Stained

As we get older, it’s normal for our teeth to get yellower. This doesn’t necessarily mean our teeth are unhealthy, but it can make us self-conscious about our smiles.

If your teeth are not as white or bright as you would like them to be, you can do something about it.

Today, we want to discuss some of the most common causes of teeth stains as well as how you can remove them. At the office of  we use Opalescence professional teeth whitening products for our patients in and around Fredericksburg, VA.

Keep reading to learn more.


The Causes Of Staining

Our teeth may not look as white as we would like either for intrinsic stains or extrinsic stains.

Intrinsic stains affect the inner structure of your teeth. This can occur for a variety of reasons, such as a side effect of certain medications or a trauma to one or more of your teeth. You should know that teeth whitening will not work on these kinds of discolorations.

However, professional teeth whitening can be extremely effective in removing extrinsic stains from your smile. Extrinsic stains affect the outer layers of our teeth. The foods we eat and the things we drink add to these stains.

Our enamel looks relatively flat to the naked eye, but it actually contains microscopic pits. These are places where small particles of food and drink can get caught. Over times — years, decades — those particles add up and out teeth turn darker and darker.

Here are some of the most common contributors to extrinsic teeth stains:

▸ Coffee — Americans love their coffee. That’s obvious by how easy it is to find.

Coffee is naturally dark in color, and small particles of coffee are no different. With each sip and cup, your teeth can become a little darker.

▸ Tea — Like coffee, tea contains tannins. These are compounds that can increase the likelihood that stains will stick to your teeth.

▸ Soft drinks — All you have to do is look at most soft drinks to realize they have had color added to them. (Clear soft drinks can add to stains, too, however.) Soft drinks can hurt your teeth in others ways as well. Soft drinks may increase the porous nature of your enamel, which can make it easier for stains to develop.

▸ Colorful sauces — Think about the soy sauce you add to Chinese food or the tomato-based sauces that are common in Italian and Mexican foods. We won’t deny that these are delicious, but they too can add to your stains.

After all, the stick to your food, so that is a clue that they can stick to your teeth as well.

▸ Blueberries — Fresh blueberries are delicious and healthy, and they can stain your teeth. This isn’t unique to blueberries. Colorful berries and fruits contain nutrients that can help our health, and their colorful nature can contribute to stains.

▸ Wine — Wine is colorful, contains tannins, and can increase the porousness of your enamel. It shouldn’t surprise you that it can cause teeth staining.

As a general rule, think about whether something could stain your clothing. If it can, then there is decent chance that it could stain your teeth, too.


The Best Way To Remove Extrinsic Stains

When you get to a point where you are ready to remove the stains from your teeth, it can be tempting to pick up something on the shelves of the toothpaste aisle.

A better option is to consult with one of our dentists at our office in Fredericksburg, VA, before you do anything.

Whitening toothpaste can remove some surface stains, but it’s not going to get the deeper stains on your teeth. Commercial whitening products like strips and gels will do a better job than whitening toothpaste, but they only contain a fraction of the bleaching agents found in professional whitening products, like Opalescence.

You have the option of in-office or take-home whitening products at our office. During your consultation, we can discuss the benefits of each approach and help you determine which is the right option for you.

The in-office treatment is faster, but you may prefer the convenience of home treatments.


Make Your Appointment

The American Dental Association encourages every patient to talk to a dentist before starting any whitening treatment. Some people should not use teeth whitening products, and if you are one of them, we do offer other kinds of cosmetic dentistry that could whiten your smile.

To find out if teeth whitening will help you get the smile that you want, call the office of Lloyd F. Moss Jr., D.D.S., & Lloyd F. Moss III, D.D.S., at (540) 369-4926 or fill out our online form to make your appointment.