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Teeth staining:

Teeth staining can be caused during the development of teeth or after the completion of development of teeth. Usually those stains or discoloration that occur during the tooth development time is located inside the tooth while those acquired later in life are on the external surfaces of teeth.

The common intrinsic causes of tooth staining include use of Tetracycline antibiotic by pregnant mother or by the child till 8 years of life, exposure to increased Fluoride either through water, toothpaste or diet (Tea and fish), trauma, hereditary disorders, infections.

Types of tooth stains

The extrinsic causes of staining include smoking and tobacco consumption, excessive tea and coffee consumption especially when mouthwashes containing Chlorhexidine and Cetylpyridinium Chloride is also used simultaneously, betel and areca nut intake, certain metals ( Cadmium, Copper and Iron), long term use of mouthwashes containing Chlorhexidine and Cetylpyri- dinium Chloride, Minocycline drug and broken down dental filling. Certain amount of discoloration is normal with ageing.

Preventive tips and treatment for tooth discoloration.


The tobacco, betel quid stains can be removed by scaling and polishing. Fluoride and tetracycline stains need tooth bleaching treatment. If extensive tooth discoloration is due to some hereditary cause, the dentist may put veneers to cover the discoloured tooth surfaces. Crowning can also be done to cover the affected teeth.


Do not use any medicine without prescription. Reduce the quantity of toothpaste for children or use only toothpastes made for children. Avoid smoking, tobacco and betel quid. Avoid exposure to excessive Fluoride for children. Avoid using Chlorhexidine containing mouthwashes regularly for more than 2 weeks.

Complications of tooth staining:

Compromised aesthetics, stains create a rough surface which becomes favorable site for more plaque deposition and if extrinsic stains are not removed for long, they can penetrate inside the tooth surface and thereby may not be cleaned by scaling only. Treatment option for intrinsic stains is bleaching and composite veneering which are certainly costly than scaling.

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