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  • Writer's pictureIoannis Tsiaousis

Causes of Tooth Discolouration and How To Get A Brighter Smile

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

Discolouration may be caused by many things:


As we get older our enamel thins thus allowing the pigment of the dentine to show through more.


Smoking is one of the most common reasons for discoloured teeth, the tar released whilst smoking can build up causing heavy discolouration and staining.

Food and drink

Some food and drink contain staining agents such as tea, coffee, red wine, curry. Consumed in high amounts can cause considerable discolouration.


Some medicines like Tetracycline have resulted in intrinsic staining (deep internal staining) which is very hard to remove and looks like grey banding across the teeth.


This is due to excessive exposure to high levels of fluoride early in life, like over consumption of toothpaste or ingestion of too much fluoride in water. Fluorosis affects the enamel, which means the white or brown spots sit permanently on the surface of the teeth. They cannot be removed by brushing or polishing the teeth.

Options to change the appearance of discolouration:

There are many dental procedures these days that can be used to change the appearance of teeth. Some are more intricate and costly than others. We have listed these treatments starting with the least invasive and the most cost friendly treatments.


Don't overlook the humble tube of toothpast for improving tooth colour - many toothpastes contain baking soda, mild abrasives and high fluoride content. All of these things help to restore the tooth’s natural whiteness, but they do not contain any peroxides that can reverse discolouration internally.


Peroxides as we know, have been used extensively for changing the colour of teeth with out altering tooth structure. This is a process of oxidisation and has proven less harmful than drinking a can of sugary fizzy drink. (McCracken MS,et al.Demineralisation effects of 10% CP. & cola on enamel. J Dent Res 1993;72:215)

Results are predictable and the treatments are very easy to use in the comfort of your own home.

Tooth whitening is one of the safest and most cost effective way of enhancing the appearance of teeth. It is the most requested dental procedure of patients between the ages of 20-60 years of age. Most results will last a long time with good maintenance. Top ups can be used without fear of damaging the tooth.

Air Polishing

Using a powder and water gentle jet stream of air, Airflow polishing is an effective way to remove surface stains. It has a minimal abrasive effect on the tooth surface. This treatment is only topical and cannot change the internal colour of the tooth.

Micro abrasion

This treatment is used to remove fluorosis staining and hyper decalcification from the surface of the tooth. It is an abrasive pumice using 6.6% hydrochloric acid. This treatment removes tiny microns of enamel and therefore is recommended only if bleaching with peroxides fails to work.

Composite restorations

Composite is a fantastic material that wears just like enamel. It has all the light reflecting properties of a natural tooth and makes for high aesthetic restorations. Mainly used as an alternative to amalgams, repair and build up of teeth, some composites are now strong enough to be used as veneers and have excellent results.

Ceramic restorations

Porcelain crowns, bridges and veneers are a highly popular way of altering tooth shape and colour. Tooth whitening can be used prior to these treatments for the desired aesthetics. This treatment offers predictable aesthetics but can be more expensive due to procedures and materials used.

Please feel welcome to call us at any time to discuss teeth whitening and its suitability for you in more depth.

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