One of the requests I get most as a hygienist is “Please can you take this staining off?” closely followed by, “How can I prevent staining on my teeth?”
The good news is, generally speaking, staining isn’t harmful to your teeth! However it doesn’t look great- almost everyone wants a stain-free smile!
Staining occurs in two ways: intrinsically (inside the tooth) or extrinsically (the outside surface of the tooth).
Intrinsic stains in teeth are harder to remove: they involve dentine, the tooth tissue underneath enamel which gives teeth their colour. If you think you may have some intrinsic staining in your teeth I would recommend a full examination with one of our dentists, to assess if we can help you.
Stains affecting the enamel (outer surface of the tooth) are easier to remove. They can normally be removed by scaling and polishing with a hygienist.
Tea and coffee can be the biggest culprits of staining to teeth, especially when consumed black. Some herbal or green teas can contain higher tannin levels than coffee. Try to add milk/ more milk to your beverage to reduce the pigment- i.e a trendy flat white will stain your teeth less than an espresso. If you take sugar in your teeth- try switching to a sweetener such as Canderel, as frequent sipping on a sugary drink can contribute to tooth decay.
There are approximately 600 ingredients in a cigarette- and a few of these can seriously stain your teeth! The nicotine and tar in cigarettes can give teeth a yellow-brown tinge, as well as being bad for your general and oral health.
It’s really all the good stuff isn’t it! Red wine contains a lot of tannins and acids that stick to your teeth. You could try using a straw in your wine glass, as this will mean the liquid goes to the back of your mouth rather than washing over your teeth… or perhaps more friendly to your street cred, try having a glass of water after.
Highly pigmented fruit and vegetables can cause stains- think blueberries, raspberries. I’ve even noticed light green staining from patients who are partial to a spinach kale mix in the morning. I don’t want to stop you having your five a day, but again try having water if you do like these smoothies. Blending fruit actually takes out a lot of the fibre within it, and allows the naturally occurring sugars in fruit to be more freely available. Although smoothies are a great way of getting your fruit and vegetable intake, they can contain more sugar than a can of coke!
Read the label and look out for an ingredient called Chlorhexidine. It can cause brown/black staining in between your teeth!
If you’ve noticed staining to your teeth you won’t be able to brush it out yourself. You will be due to see one of our hygienists for a clean and polish. Book online or call us on 0207 377 6762 to make an appointment.
If the staining has been on your teeth for some time or is lodged right in between your teeth, the hygienist may recommend an air polish. This is like a jet wash for your teeth and superior to conventional polishing. It is a mix of fine powder, water and air and can work wonders. We can do this at the end of your regular hygiene visit for an extra £20, or as a stand alone appointment for £45.