Brown spots are definitely noticeable. Having a dark discoloration on your teeth can detract from your smile’s appearance. So let’s figure out what is causing them? How to prevent them from getting worse? How to fix them? How to make them go away?

One of the most common reasons someone will have brown spots on their teeth is due to using tobacco products.

tobacco products

So if you’re a smoker, cigars, cigarettes, and even smokeless tobacco can cause heavy brown staining on teeth. The good news is that it can often be polished off with a professional cleaning at the dentist. The bad news is that over time they tend to soak deeper into your enamel requiring professional whitening treatments to get rid of them.

Next up, food and drinks.

teeth-staining foods

Coffee, tea, red wine, soda, sports drinks, dark berries, pasta sauce, if it can stain a white t-shirt it can also stain your teeth. So eating or drinking these types of foods and beverages every now and then won’t cause severe brown stains. But if consumed regularly on a daily basis, they can start to build up and get worse. The best advice is to limit your exposure to teeth-staining foods. And when you do indulge in tooth-staining food, be sure to thoroughly rinse your mouth out with water after. Also for stain-causing drinks when possible drink through a straw.

Another reason for brown spots also related to staining is tartar buildup.

Calcified plaque or tartar or calculus, it’s that rocky build-up that forms on your teeth when you don’t brush or floss thoroughly enough. It’s also porous making it a magnet for stain and discoloration. It’s normal for most of us to get a little tartar between dental cleanings. But if you can see the buildup, you’re probably past due for a checkup or you might even have gum disease. So be sure to have routine professional cleanings with your dental hygienist and talk to your dental hygienist if you are concerned that your tartar builds up too fast. They can give you additional home care recommendations and maybe even have you consider coming in more frequently for cleanings.

Here’s an interesting one, pool or lap swimming.

Both competitive and recreational swimmers sometimes see brown stains on their teeth when they’re spending more time at the pool. It’s thought that the chlorine or other makeup of the pool water causes the stain. So if this is you or your child, be sure to rinse your mouth out with tap water after swimming and brush your teeth right when you get home. In addition, professional cleanings at the dentist can also help to polish off the swimming pool stain.

Vitamins and supplements.

If you or your child are taking multivitamins you might notice something called blackline stains start to gradually build up. This type of stain doesn’t affect everyone. But a small percentage of people are prone to it. In this case, if the stain is superficial it can easily be polished off during your dental cleaning.

Lastly, severe fluorosis and enamel hypoplasia can also cause brown spots on your teeth.

It’s generally related to the teeth having too much fluoride or not enough of the right vitamins and minerals. Oftentimes they are pitted and soft in a sense. Maybe even it’s more of an enamel decalcification that leads to tooth decay. So the brown spots may have started as fluorosis or decalcification but now they are cavities. The best treatment is to see your dentist. Sometimes fillings or bondings can be placed in those areas and other times crowns or veneers are the better options. It just depends on the individual situation.

In all, more often than not, brown spots on your teeth are caused by staining whether it’s from tobacco, drinks like coffee and wine, tartar buildup, swimming in a pool daily, or certain vitamins that you’re taking. For all of those, visiting your dental office for a professional cleaning will help remove those brown spots. However, if the brown spots are due to tooth decay or cavities which often start as fluorosis or enamel hypoplasia, the difference is that they are pitted and not smooth. And they need to be treated for more than just cosmetic reasons. If you have tooth decay, that cavity needs to be removed and filled by your dentist for your teeth to be happy and healthy.

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