Brown Spots on Tooth: Causes and Prevention

Brown spots signify poor dental hygiene. However, there are other underlying reasons too why brown spots appear on the tooth or teeth. What do you do then if you’re one of those that can’t confidently smile?

kid brushing teeth

Having a healthy set of pearly whites can leave a very good impression.   They say that people generally respond well to a friendly face with a beaming smile – and definitely it is a plus if you’re teeth are gloriously clean and bright. 

Having a healthy set of pearly whites can leave a good impression. They say that people generally respond well to a friendly face with a beaming smile – and definitely, it is a plus if you’re teeth are gloriously clean and bright.  

However, not all are blessed with a good set of teeth. Some may have a missing or chipped tooth or low-quality false teeth. Or, badly stained teeth. Worse is if the tooth has visible brown spots that are hard to hide. Having these dental issues can make the person lose confidence and feel ill at ease.

What do you do then if you’re one of those that can’t confidently smile? 

Brown spots signify poor dental hygiene. However, there are other underlying reasons too on why brown spots appear on the tooth or teeth.

Brown Spots On Tooth 101

Stained teeth or brown spots are not rare, as many people do not have bright or white teeth. The variety of whiteness differs in every individual. Brown spots on teeth are due to several causes. Lack of oral hygiene is one. Other causes include:

Celiac disease

Celiac is a gut-related ailment that affects those who are gluten sensitive or people who fall sick after consuming foods that contain gluten. Having yellowish-brown spots on the teeth is one indicator that the person is suffering from this disease. Unfortunately, these brown spots won’t respond to any type of cleaning or stain remover as they are permanent marks already.

Effects of medicine

Some medicines react once they contact the enamel of the teeth or are continuously used. One type of antibiotic often prescribed to children is tetracycline and doxycycline, which discolors the teeth. Children may also be affected when their mothers used these medications during their pregnancy.

Smoking and using nicotine products

Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco may help relieve anxiety during stressful times, but continued use can leave a bad stain and brown mark on the teeth. Nicotine, the primary agent present in cigarettes, cigars, and tobacco is what causes tooth stain. No matter how you use it (smoke, chew, or with a pipe), nicotine will find its way in creeping to your teeth, staining the enamel with continued use.

Tartar

The formation of tartar between the gums and teeth is due to poor dental hygiene. Irregular brushing of teeth and not flossing leads to the accumulation of food residues and bacteria, which turns into plaque. When it hardens, it turns very dark brown called tartar, thus leaving a dark color on the teeth. Since tartar is solid, it cannot be removed by merely brushing the teeth, even vigorously.  

Tooth decay

Decaying tooth is not only caused by poor dental hygiene but also due to foods that weaken the teeth. Too much of these foods can cause decay as they attach themselves to the teeth, especially when brushing is not regular. Foods that have the possibility of decaying the teeth are those packed with sugar and starch. Consuming them regularly plus forgetting to floss and brush can damage the enamel, thus turning some spots brown. 

Fluorosis

While brown spots due to fluoride are uncommon, it can affect kids whose teeth are just developing. It happens when there’s too much fluoride in the water, leaving soft white traces on the teeth. It turns brown when it is severe. The discoloration, however, does not automatically indicate that the tooth is decaying. Teeth with mild fluorosis are still considered healthy.

Enamel hypoplasia. Unlike other brown spots that appear on teeth, Enamel hypoplasia occurs either through toxins from the environment or passed on through genetics. In Enamel Hypoplasia, there is a lack of enamel on the teeth, which leads to the formation of rough yellow or brown spots. The lack of enamel, may due to insufficiency in vitamins, illness, or lack of nutrients while the mother is pregnant. Exposure also to toxins can cause this appearance of brown spots on the teeth.

How To Remove Brown Spots On Tooth

Removing or preventing brown spots from dulling your pearly whites is not that difficult. Regular brushing at least twice a day or after every meal is key in keeping the bacteria and dirt from accumulating on your teeth and turning to brown stain. Flossing also is highly recommended for hard to reach areas.  

Some toothpaste too contains whitening ingredients for surface stains. The results may not be as fast as you need to use them continuously to see the difference. 

  • Using baking soda also helps to brighten the teeth and remove superficial brown stains. Put some on your toothpaste or make a paste by adding a drop of water on the baking soda and then brush your teeth in a circular motion.  
  • Whitening strips, which are available in many apothecaries can help too in removing surface brown spots. Whitening strips are treated with hydrogen peroxide to whiten the teeth. They are transparent plastic and flexible. 
    Place them on the teeth for 30 minutes a day; do this regularly for 10 to 20 days to see the results. Although this method is safe, too much could weaken the enamel especially, if the brand is not of good repute.
  • Teeth whitening pens contain hydrogen peroxide. It is another solution that can superficially cover brown spots. Although this method does not permanently stay or cure as the solution only lasts for several days when applied on the teeth, it can at least cover individual teeth with brown spots.

In severe cases, however, brushing alone or applying solutions with hydrogen peroxide will hardly make any difference. Getting professional help or going to the dentist is the only way to remove the brown spots on the tooth. They can also give proper advice and tips for the brown spots to disappear. 

Below are some measures that the dentist often does to remove the brown discoloration.

  • Prophylaxis. It involves cleaning the surface of the teeth and even the tight spaces in between with tools and dental machines and then treating the teeth with solutions to prevent further damage.
  • Bleaching. For this method, a gel containing whitening agents and hydrogen peroxide is applied to the teeth, and then a laser light goes over the teeth to trigger the whitening chemicals. Use a dental dam to protect the mouth and gums.
  • Veneers. These are very thin-like shells applied to the teeth to cover the stains. It is used mostly for those who have permanent brown spots. Veneers are quite pricey but last for a good number of years.

Prevention Is Key

Again for severe cases, only those with appropriate dental expertise can apply lasting methods to remove or cover the stains. However, in other cases, preventing the formation of brown spots is not that hard, as long as you know what types of food and drinks to avoid. Having pearly or at least spot-less teeth is easy as long you know what to do:

  • Refrain from smoking or chewing products that contain nicotine
  • Limit intake of sugary and starchy foods
  • Use a straw when drinking acidic liquids.
  • Minimize coffee intake and red wine as both can stain
  • Drink and consume liquids rich in calcium as it can strengthen teeth
  • Brush and floss regularly

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