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Everything You Should Know About the Causes, Treatment, and Prevention of Brown Spots on Teeth

Good oral care and hygiene is the best way to avoid bad breath and tooth decay while also keeping gum disease at bay. Another crucial part of oral hygiene is looking out for and preventing brown spots on the teeth. This is because brown spots on teeth are usually an indication of either poor hygiene or some serious health concerns. In this article, we shall be taking a look at everything concerning brown spots on teeth, from their causes to their treatment and prevention.

Causes of Brown Spots on Teeth

Teeth discolourations or stains can be either extrinsic (stains that are purely cosmetic) or intrinsic (stains caused by genetic or environmental factors). 

Extrinsic stains develop when the staining elements of acidic or dark foods penetrate the tooth enamel. This type of stain usually manifests as yellow or brown spots. These spots can develop from years of nicotine (chewing tobacco, cigarettes) consumption. A diet that includes a lot of teeth staining and acidic foods can also cause these brown or yellow spots to appear. Examples of teeth-staining foods and drinks are; tea, red wine, cola, pomegranates, coffee, blackberries, blueberries, and spices like turmeric and saffron.

Cosmetic dentistry procedures like porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, and dental bonding can be used to remove these stains.

Environmental and genetic factors are, however, the cause of Intrinsic teeth stains. Some of those factors include;

Tartar – This is a hard substance resulting from a build-up of plaque. It can appear as yellow or brown spots on the teeth, and its appearance usually begins near the gum line. 

Fluorosis– This is also known as excessive fluoride intake, and it can cause brown pits to form on the biting surface of the teeth (especially on the back molars). 

Enamel Hypoplasia – This is when factors like toxin exposure, vitamin deficiencies, malnutrition during pregnancy, or maternal illness cause the teeth to have less enamel than what is needed. This condition often appears as rough-textured yellow or brown spots, and it can affect one or multiple teeth. 

Tooth Decay – This can discolour teeth in a number of ways. One is cavities destroying the enamel of the tooth and causing brown spots. The cavities may also eat through the enamel and expose the tooth’s dentin which is darker than its outer surface. 

Celiac Disease – This can prevent the proper development of the tooth enamel, thus, resulting in yellow, white and brown spots.

Other causes of intrinsic teeth stains include aging, trauma, root canal, old dental work and medications (antibiotics like doxycycline and tetracycline).

Treating Brown Spots on Teeth

Brown spots that are not a result of cavities can be treated with teeth whitening. The teeth whitening option you choose will depend on the depth and severity of the stains. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products (strips or toothpaste) can be used to treat surface stains that don’t go beneath the outer layer of the teeth. 

Bear in mind that these whitening products are not permanent, and they will need to be used consistently in order to get the best results. This doesn’t mean that they should be overused either, as they also tend to thin the tooth enamel.

In the case of enamel hypoplasia, good oral hygiene may be all that is required to treat the condition. A sealing and bonding procedure may also be done to protect the teeth from wear and tear. 

Deeper extrinsic stains, on the other hand, will require professional teeth whitening procedures typically carried out by a dentist. These procedures are quite effective and can last a few years, provided good oral hygiene is maintained. Some of the procedures include; power bleaching, composite bonding, dental prophylaxis, porcelain veneers, and chairside whitening. For brown spots that are a result of tooth damage and decay, more extensive procedures like root canals or tooth fillings may be necessary.

Preventing Brown Spots on Teeth

When it comes to avoiding brown spots on teeth, prevention is really the best medicine. Good oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing every day, using fluoride toothpaste, rinsing your mouth after meals, limiting sugary and teeth-staining foods, and avoiding nicotine products can help prevent brown spots on teeth. Adding calcium-rich foods to your diet can also help you prevent enamel erosion. Don’t forget to visit your dentist regularly and schedule professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year.


Apart from being visually unappealing, brown spots on teeth can be a sign of poor oral hygiene and potentially serious oral health issues. So, it is important that you do what you can to treat and prevent it. Hopefully, this article has been able to shed some light on everything you need to know about brown spots on teeth.


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