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Dental Hygiene

Why are my teeth staining so much?

02/23/2006

Question:

I started drinking coffee about a month ago, and one day when I got home from work, I noticed there were brown stains all over my teeth! Even after a good brushing only a bit of the stains got removed. I stopped drinking it for a few days and they got mostly better, but after drinking it one time again they looked just as bad as before. I also noticed that the stains were mostly in little indents in the tooth`s surface, and I`m not sure why they`re there. I`ve had a little indent in my front incisor at the gumline for over ten years, but it hasn`t developed into anything serious. After noticing those bad stains the first time, I saw a similar type of indent near the top of the canine next to it (one of the stains was in there). Should I see a dentist ASAP, or should I just wait a few months until my regular dental checkup?

Answer:

Coffee stain is one of the most popular stains on teeth.  It sounds like you do have indentations on the enamel of your teeth where the stain is collecting and perhaps the bristles of your toothbrush are not small enough to get into these grooves or indentations.  Indentations are normal anatomy of teeth so I don't think it will hurt to wait until your next check up to inquire about the stain.  What you can do is rinse with water right after you've had your coffee and use a whitening toothpaste when you brush.

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Response by:

Michele P Carr, RDH,  MA Michele P Carr, RDH, MA
Associate Professor of Dental Hygiene
Associate Professor of HS Nursing Quality & Research
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University