How to whiten teeth and what causes stained teeth?

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Last updated May 1, 2022


I am concerned about stained teeth. Is there any way to whiten them?


Stained stains can be improved with whitening and daily care.
In this issue, we will discuss how to remove stains from teeth and whiten them!

Causes of stained teeth

Tooth Stains

There are two main causes of staining on teeth

  • Pigment that adheres from the outside to the "enamel" layer on the surface of the teeth
  • Discoloration of the inner layer of the tooth called "dentin

The term "extrinsic" refers to staining of enamel caused by external pigments, while "intrinsic" refers to staining of dentin caused by aging, medication, or other factors. Of the two,Tooth stains are yellowing or darkening of the teeth caused by extrinsic factors.

There are three main causes of colored stains

  • Food and drinks
  • Tobacco tar
  • Plaque

Food and drinks

Polyphenols, tannins, and pigments in foods and drinks cause yellowing and darkening of the teeth.

Polyphenols, tannins, and pigments initially bind to the transparent film called "pellicle" that covers the tooth surface. Then, over time, they settle on the teeth and gradually darken the color, resulting in a stubborn yellowing or darkening that cannot be removed with a toothbrush.

Foods and beverages prone to color stains

The following foods and drinks contain high levels of polyphenols, tannins, and dyes that cause staining.

  • coffee
  • curry
  • chocolate
  • tea ceremony
  • red wine
  • Soy Products
  • Bananas, etc.


Tobacco tar is a dark brown substance.Yani pigments adhere directly to the teeth, exacerbating the yellowing.Yani is also sticky, so it can stick to the tooth surface and become a sooty stain.


Plaque is a mass of bacteria such as caries and periodontal disease bacteria that is formed from food debris.

It starts out light cream-colored, but over time it turns dark yellow, orange, or green,Adhered plaque makes teeth look yellowish, and discolored plaque pigments settle on teeth and become yellowish that cannot be removed with a toothbrush.

How to remove stains and whiten teeth

Tooth Stains

There are three options for removing stains from teeth, depending on the level of yellowing or darkening.

  • Mild → care at home
  • Mild to moderate → care at salon
  • Mild to severe → Dentist care

There is a difference in immediacy and effectiveness,The least effective immediate and teeth-whitening care is care performed at home, and the most effective is care performed by a dentist.

Mild] Care at home

Remove stains at home using toothpaste containing ingredients that remove stains and toothbrushes specialized for removing stains.It is effective in gradually removing mild staining before it seeps into the enamel and in preventing staining after eating and drinking.

Since home care can only be used with products available over-the-counter, there are limits to the whitening ingredients that can be used and their effectiveness. Therefore, if the goal is to remove stains and whiten teeth,It may take several months to realize the effect.

Mild to moderate] Care in a salon

At a beauty salon or a salon specializing in self-whiteningDo-it-yourself whitening using whitening agents and a light that activates the whitening ingredientsIt is.

Because it is not a medical institution, there is no obligation to have a dentist or dental hygienist on staff, and the ingredients of the whitening agents used are completely different from those used by dentists.

The main ingredients of whitening agents used in salons are sodium polyphosphate, baking soda, and sodium carbonate, the same ingredients used in commercial toothpaste.

Basically, it just returns the teeth to the color they were before the stains arrived, although it is expected to be slightly more effective than at-home care,Less effective in whitening teeth than dentist care.It is. In addition, it takes 3 to 5 treatments before the effects are felt.

Mild to severe] Dentist care

Dentist care is,This is cleaning and whitening performed as a medical procedure.Health insurance is not available for whitening for aesthetic purposes, but cleaning may be covered by health insurance depending on the condition of the mouth.

Cleaning (PMTC)

Cleaning (PMTC) is performed by a dentist or dental hygienist using a special machine to remove stains by polishing the tooth surfaces and remove tartar that has become calcified by plaque and cannot be removed by tooth brushing.

The specialized machines are classified as medical devices,It is so highly effective that it can remove colored stains in a single pass.Polishing also makes the tooth surface shiny, making it more difficult for new stains to adhere.

The teeth-whitening effect is the same as at-home or salon care, only the teeth return to the color they were before the stains arrived, but it is superior in that it is effective in a single session.

whitening (e.g. of teeth)

Dentist whitening bleaches teeth with a whitening agent that uses hydrogen peroxide or urea peroxide,Whitens stains that have seeped into the tooth surface and enamel.

There are several types of whitening, including office whitening, which is done entirely by the dentist, and home whitening, which is done at home using whitening agents and a mouthpiece prescribed by the dentist.

The difference between whitening done at home or in a salon is that it can or cannot bleach teeth. While the whitening component performed at home or in a salon is effective in removing stains from the surface of the teeth,It does not bleach the teeth.

Dentist whitening, on the other hand,Teeth bleaching cleans out stains and makes teeth whiter than they were before the stains arrived.

The time it takes to see results depends on the treatment method, but office whitening takes one day and home whitening takes about 14 days.

How to prevent stained teeth

Tooth Stains

To prevent stained teeth,Daily care and a little bit of thoughtfulness are important.

  • Brush teeth frequently after eating and drinking
  • Utilize mouthwash or gum when brushing is not possible
  • Avoid damaging teeth
  • Regular maintenance at the dentist.

Brush teeth frequently

Since food, drink, and cigarette tar is insoluble in water, it can only be removed by scrubbing with a toothbrush. After eating, drinking, or smoking,Brush your teeth as soon as possible to prevent staining.

Utilize mouthwash or gum when brushing is not possible

If you cannot brush your teeth,Gargle with mouthwash that has whitening properties or chew gum to produce saliva.

Mouthwash with whitening properties helps to wash away staining elements.

If mouthwash is not available, chewing gum allows saliva to wash away the staining elements. Gum with a high concentration of xylitol is recommended to prevent cavities.

In addition, gum containing an edible whitening ingredient called sodium metaphosphate can help absorb stains.

Avoid damaging teeth

In attempting to prevent color stains by the following methods,Do not do this because it will damage the surface of the teeth and make it easier for stains to build up.

  • [No! High frequency use of coarse abrasive toothpaste
  • [No! Brush your teeth with baking soda.
  • [No! Brush your teeth with strawberry or lemon juice.

In both cases, abrasives and acids are used to scrape off the tooth surface with each stain, which results in thinning and coarsening of the tooth enamel,Stained or yellowed teeth will be more noticeable.

Regular maintenance at the dentist.

In addition to daily care, if you get regular cleanings at the dentist,Stained stains are less likely to settle on the teeth.

Let's take care of stained teeth the right way!

Tooth Stains

Tooth staining is caused by food, drinks, cigarette smoke, and plaque. If you damage your teeth in the wrong way, the stained stains will become even more noticeable,Be sure to take care of them in the right way.

365dentistWe are distributing useful information on how to keep your teeth clean at the "Dentist Chat". In the official open chat, you can talk with Dr. Yukiko, a dentist, and everyone who has a high awareness of oral beauty, so please come visit us if you like!

If you are looking for an orthodontist, please visit the official line, if you want to exchange information with other patients under treatment, please visit the open chat 😊.

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Graduated from Nagasaki University School of Dentistry, ~2018 Kyushu Medical Center, 2018-present Working at a dental clinic in Tokyo

UyRZkXPjQvAn5BK9ai6vfhAEgYGCePrS3Id158EZKuev 2TIlSXaZPkxY9dJ 3vCTCm7hqIEw6AzmlpdiuMD8H 9aD01UftplKrgMtn7dmYeSupervisor: Dentist/Naomi

After completing clinical training, worked in cosmetic dentistry in Tokyo. Currently a dentist and dental writer.


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