Are Teeth Stains Inevitable?

If you’re a stickler for good hygiene, and take pride in keeping your teeth clean and healthy, then you might be more than a little dismayed to notice that they’re beginning to look less spectacular than they used to. Their color may be fading, or perhaps one or more of your teeth have developed noticeable stains. Fortunately, it doesn’t mean that your hygiene routine has failed you. On the contrary, some forms of teeth stains are inevitable despite the care you put into your smile.

The Common Causes of Teeth Stains

While good hygiene can’t guarantee a blemish-free smile, it can help determine what kind of stains your teeth are more likely develop. If you maintain a consistent cleaning routine, you can prevent discoloration resulting from a tooth infection. However, you might not be able to protect your teeth’s surfaces from exposure to colorful meals and beverages.

Extrinsic Staining

Extrinsic tooth staining affects the outer layer, or enamel, of your teeth. Tooth enamel is semi-translucent, allowing you to see the main tooth structure (dentin) underneath it. When it stains, it’s usually because of an accumulation of colorful molecules (called chromogens) found in your food and drinks. Over time, repeated exposure to chromogens can begin to affect the color of your teeth, making them appear duller. Extrinsic staining is usually harmless to your dental health, but can still be highly-noticeable and is usually reversed with professional teeth-whitening treatment.

Intrinsic Discoloration

Intrinsic discoloration can often be mistaken as extrinsic staining, but it involves the dentin underneath enamel, rather than your teeth’s outer layer. Internal tooth staining can indicate a number of underlying issues, such as tooth decay, internal damage, or an adverse reaction to certain medications. Unlike surface stains, intrinsic discoloration isn’t necessarily inevitable, but when it occurs, it can’t be erased with a simple teeth-whitening procedure.


As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.