You might notice brown spots on your teeth from time to time, which can be very concerning. In reality, having discoloration on your teeth is quite common and can be caused by multiple factors.
Generally, the causes can be divided into intrinsic and extrinsic causes, meaning that these stains can be a result of certain foods, beverages, or external trauma to the teeth, or they could be internal, caused by tooth decay, disease, etc.
In some cases, these spots can be treated by improving your oral hygiene habits, but in other cases, the discoloration might be irreversible.
But first, it’s important to identify what exactly is causing the brown spots on your teeth.
What causes Brown spots on teeth?
Food and Drinks
One of the most common reasons for brown spots on our teeth is the foods and beverages we consume frequently. Dark-colored foods and drinks usually contain chemicals that can lead to staining and brown spots. For example, dark wine contains tannic acid, which may lead to discoloration, specifically brown spots on the teeth if consumed frequently and in large amounts. Stains that are caused by food and drinks can become permanents if not treated properly and on time.
Nicotine and Tobacco
Another reason why you might be getting dark brown spots on your teeth is nicotine and tobacco consumption. Besides other health hazards, smoking or chewing tobacco causes a buildup on the teeth that becomes darker and harder over time. Just like with stains caused by foods and beverages, if not treated on time, they also become more difficult to remove and can cause permanent damage. Besides brushing your teeth and flossing, you can also use your teeth whitening kits, to prevent permanent damage to your enamel.
A common reason behind the brown spots on teeth is poor oral hygiene. Having some build-up on your teeth from foods and drinks is normal and it can be removed by brushing your teeth and flossing regularly. But if a person has poor oral hygiene, the plaque can build up and harden over time. When that happens, plaque creates a permanent coating called tartar. Unlike plaque, tartar cannot be removed by just brushing your teeth and flossing. In this case, professional dental work is needed.
If you fail to remove tartar on time, it can permanently weaken the enamel of your tooth, exposing its yellow layers and creating discoloration.
Some medications can also cause brown spots to appear on teeth. Some antibiotics, like tetracycline, are exceptionally prone to staining the enamel, so make sure to do your research and take care of the discoloration, before it can cause permanent damage to your teeth.
Another reason for discoloration on teeth can be genetics. Some people genetically have weaker tooth enamel or maybe carrying hereditary conditions that leads the teeth to change color over time. While this might make dental care more complicated, by paying more attention to your oral hygiene you can prevent the stains from appearing in the first place.
Brown stains can also be caused by aging. As we age, the white enamel becomes thinner, exposing the more yellow layers of your teeth. While there’s not much we can do to stop aging, having a consistent oral hygiene routine can prevent staining and minimize the appearance of brown spots on your teeth.
While Fluoride is generally good for the teeth, too much of it can cause more damage than good, specifically, it can cause dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis usually occurs in children and can cause white markings on teeth. While most cases of fluorosis are mild, if it is severe, the tooth enamel can be damaged, creating brown spots.
Enamel Hypoplasia is a condition that causes your tooth enamel to be harder but simultaneously makes it thinner. It can be caused by environmental factors but it can also be genetic. Factors like a vitamin deficiency or malnutrition during pregnancy can increase the chances of Enamel Hypoplasia, leading to the appearance of discolored, yellowish teeth.
Those who have Celiac disease are more prone to develop brown stains on their teeth. Often those with Celiac disease will have discoloration on their teeth, as well as weak, translucent enamel.
All of these could be a possible reason behind the brown spots on your teeth. While in some cases the stains can be removed at home, in other cases they might be inevitable and will require professional help. If a person has Celiac disease or the discoloration was caused by fluorosis, then the discoloration is likely permanent. But if the brown spots are caused by foods and beverages or by tooth decay, they can be treated at the dentist’s office.
Dentists use various methods to remove the staining, depending on the cause of discoloration. If the main cause of discoloration is tartar buildup, a professional dental cleaning will be used to remove it. If the cause is tooth decay, then a dentist will perform a standard filing procedure, possibly fitting a crown over your tooth. Lastly, if the discoloration is caused by the infection you might need a root canal.
But, if your discoloration is not very intense you can try and remove it at home.
How to prevent and treat brown spots on teeth at home
The most full-proof way to prevent these spots is to have good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day, floss daily, and use whitening kits to maintain a healthy look for your teeth.
If you are already dealing with these spots, you can try using baking soda. Brush your teeth with baking soda and water mixture from time to time, or incorporate a hydrogen peroxide-based solution as your mouth wash in your dental hygiene routine to treat discoloration. But remember to not overdo it, since too much baking soda can weaken your enamel in the long run.
You can also purchase teeth whitening products like whitening toothpaste, whitening mouthwash, whitening strips, or tray systems.
If these don’t seem to work, or you have had these stains for a long time, your only option is to visit your dentist for professional help.