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There are several factors that cause the teeth to turn brown. These are the kind of food and drink consumed, medication taken, underlying disease and tooth products used. Brown teeth stain can be superficial or temporary, embedded or structural. The treatment for such stains can vary depending on its severity and type. Such treatment can range from practicing a regular and more aggressive oral hygiene to undergoing dental cosmetic procedures.

Superficial Stains

Superficial stains only lie on the surface of the teeth. Regular drinking of tea and soft drinks can cause the formation of brown stains. Other stain-causing substances include vegetables and fruits like potatoes and apples. Generally, adequate and proper brushing using commercial toothpaste can remove this type of stain. However some stains require professional cleaning toothpaste designed for stain-removing or dissolving purposes.


Tobacco and coffee stains are more difficult to remove because they are absorbed into the teeth. Prolonged smoking can turn the teeth a dark brown shade that is visibly prominent. This type of stain may require peroxide gel treatment. When soaked into the teeth, the gel releases oxygen that chemically removes the stain. Cutting back on the consumption of teeth-staining substances and smoking can prevent further discoloration.


Structural stains can develop along with the formation of the teeth. For some people, having yellow or gray teeth is inherent. Taking the antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline when the teeth are still developing can turn teeth gray-brown. This condition is common among children. Mouth washes with chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride can also trigger brown stain formation. Consuming too much fluoride can cause brown spotting called fluorosis. This stain is integrated into the tooth’s structure, making it very difficult to remove by just simple teeth bleaching.


In some cases, brown stain formation on teeth can be a symptom of an underlying health condition or disease. Medical treatment such as head and neck radiation and chemotherapy can also discolor the teeth. Traumatic situations for young children may disrupt natural enamel color formation of the teeth. Enamel is the outermost layer of the teeth. These conditions require immediate intervention of a dental professional.

Dental Procedures

If regular oral hygiene does not eliminate or lessen the brown stain then it is best to consult a dentist to discuss other options. The restoration of the teeth’s natural color may need in-office dental procedures such as intensive teeth cleaning and bleaching. In some cases, dental bonding and placing porcelain veneers are necessary. Dental bonding is a procedure that bonds a durable plastic material to the tooth. Porcelain veneers are tooth-colored, wafer-thin shells used to cover the teeth’s surface to improve their overall appearance.