Stained Tooth Enamel: Causes and Prevention

April 22, 2020

Changes in the color of your teeth can happen quickly or gradually over time. And if you are concerned about keeping your smile bright (aren’t we all), it’s important to be aware how easily tooth enamel can become stained or discolored by everyday habits.


Most of the time, the stains on our teeth are “extrinsic,” which means it is only the outer layer of our teeth and can be corrected. But it also means that stains can be prevented. Read on to see if some of your daily habits are contributing to stained tooth enamel and what you can do to keep your teeth bright.



  • Food and drink: Coffee, black tea, red juices and red wine are just some of the foods and drinks that can discolor teeth. Dark-colored foods like beets, berries and chocolate can change the color of your teeth as well. Acidic foods in general can erode tooth enamel which makes it easier for colors to latch on. Plus, popsicles and certain candies can cause some discoloration.
  • Tobacco: Smoking and chewing tobacco is one of the worst ways to stain your teeth. Tobacco penetrates tooth enamel and is nearly impossible to remove by only brushing.
  • Poor dental hygiene: Not brushing or flossing regularly can make tooth enamel more vulnerable to staining.




With so many ways you can stain your teeth, you might be wondering what you can do to help keep your teeth looking clean and white. It all starts with a good oral hygiene routine.

Rinse after every meal with a glass of water or mouth wash. This is the easiest way to give your teeth a quick cleaning. Brush twice a day as it helps prevent stains by removing plaque, especially on the surface of the teeth. Also be sure to floss every day to get rid of bacteria between your teeth and help keep them white. And lastly, visit your dentist for your next dental exam and cleaning. The tools your dentist uses can effectively remove many teeth stains.

To take extra steps for a brighter smile, you can schedule an in office professional whitening treatment (laser or light activated bleaching), use an at home treatment (such as whitening strips) or use a tooth whitening toothpaste.

Need to find a dentist near you? Search for one here.