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How to remove teeth stains: Dentist reveals the best way to restore your pearly whites

How to remove teeth stains - featured. Close up of a dentist's hands holding up a tooth shade guide against a woman's teeth

Drinking coffee, smoking and red wine can all contribute to teeth staining. Here’s how to remove and prevent them

A bright, radiant smile can leave a lasting impression. However, over time, teeth staining can make the teeth look darker, potentially affecting your confidence. It’s more common for teeth to become stained as you get older, but there are ways to remove staining from your teeth and restore some brightness. Regular brushing with an electric toothbrush is always a good place to start.

We spoke to a dentist to discover the safest and most effective ways to remove teeth stains. Read on and discover why your teeth get stained and how you can remove existing stains for a brighter, whiter smile.

How to remove teeth stains

There are lots of different ways to remove teeth stains. We spoke to Dr Jam, a dental expert at Primadent, about the most effective ways to do so: “To remove teeth stains, you will need to start with good oral hygiene: brush twice a day, floss daily and use an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce plaque build-up.

“Consider using a whitening toothpaste, which can help remove surface stains over time. However, be cautious as most whitening toothpaste can be abrasive, leading to enamel wear and teeth appearing more yellow due to dentine, which is yellow in colour, appearing through the enamel.

“For more stubborn deep stains, professional cleaning or whitening treatments at the dentist are the most effective. You should also avoid stain-causing foods and drinks like coffee, tea, red wine and tobacco to prevent further staining. However, before trying any new whitening products or procedures, it’s recommended that you consult with your dentist.”

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What causes stained teeth?

Teeth stains can be caused by a few different things, ranging from what you eat and drink to lifestyle habits and even some medical conditions. Prevention is always better than removal, but most people have some staining on their teeth.

Understanding the primary causes of teeth staining can help you take preventive measures to maintain a bright, white smile. Here are some common culprits.

Food and drinks

Certain foods and drinks contain pigments known as chromogens that can adhere to the enamel of your teeth, causing stains over time. Examples include:

  • Coffee
  • Tea (especially black tea)
  • Red wine
  • Cola and other dark-coloured drinks
  • Berries (such as blueberries, blackberries and cranberries)
  • Tomato-based sauces

Tobacco use

Smoking and tobacco can lead to teeth staining due to the presence of tar and nicotine. These substances can yellow the enamel of your teeth, causing unsightly discolouration over time. Quitting smoking and tobacco use is not only beneficial for your overall health but also essential for maintaining a bright smile.

How to remove teeth stains. Cigarette on top of tobacco on a white surface. More cigarettes in the background

Poor oral hygiene

Inadequate brushing and flossing can allow plaque and tartar to accumulate on the surface of your teeth, leading to discolouration. Plaque contains bacteria that produce acids, which can erode enamel and cause teeth to appear yellow or brown. Regular brushing, flossing and dental cleanings are essential for removing plaque and preventing stains.

Age-related changes

As we age, the enamel of our teeth naturally wears down, revealing the yellowish dentin underneath. This makes our teeth appear more yellow or discoloured. Additionally, changes in the enamel composition over time can make it more susceptible to staining from foods and beverages.


Certain medications, such as tetracycline antibiotics, antihistamines and high blood pressure medications, can cause teeth staining as a side effect. These medications may alter the colour of developing teeth in children or cause discolouration in adults when taken over an extended period.


Some people are more predisposed to teeth staining due to genetic factors. Genetics can influence the thickness and porosity of enamel, as well as the natural colour of teeth. Individuals with thinner enamel or naturally darker teeth may be more prone to staining.

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Trauma and injury

Trauma to the teeth, such as a blow or impact, can cause them to darken or become discoloured. This discolouration may occur immediately following the injury or develop gradually from internal bleeding or damage to the tooth structure. Usually, this type of staining can be fixed with professional teeth whitening, but you’ll need to speak to your dentist first to see if that’s the right option for you.

Excessive fluoride

While fluoride is beneficial for strengthening enamel and preventing tooth decay, excessive fluoride exposure during childhood (a condition known as fluorosis) can lead to white or brown spots on the teeth. This condition typically occurs when children ingest too much fluoride from fluoridated water, toothpaste or supplements. Teeth whitening treatments can sometimes be used to lessen the visibility of fluorosis, but in extreme cases, it can make the staining look worse. Always consult with your dentist first.

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