What Are The Causes of Teeth Staining? All the Answers You Wanted

March 30, 2020

Teeth staining comes in two types: extrinsic and intrinsic. To summarize it, here is the explanation:

  • Extrinsic: Hides the natural color of your teeth
  • Intrinsic: Discoloration of your teeth

Therefore, the first is external and the other is internal because the tooth itself has been discolored.

To understand all the points, we have divided it into two sections, because many clients at The Smile Bar in KL ask us what are the causes of staining, and here you have all the answers.

What Things Cause Extrinsic Staining?

As we have seen, extrinsic staining is external and it is caused by several factors. We are going to talk about each one in detail.


Plaque is visually invisible on the surface of your teeth but it is present and it is the source of different problems, which include staining. Once you have accumulated plaque buildup, the staining starts due to the bacteria Actinomyces species.


Plaque is the source of the problem, and it gets worse when it remains untreated because it opens the space to calcification. It provokes hard teeth deposits, with great concentrations around the gums.

Once the deposits of calcium have formed, they tend to become grey, yellow or even black, leading to major staining.

Colored Drinks

What you drink can also cause extrinsic staining, and we are talking about colored drinks such as:

  • Soda
  • Sports drinks
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Wine

If you drink these regularly and heavily, then they might be the principal source of staining for your teeth.

Metallic Elements

Metallic elements can also cause extrinsic staining due to exposition. The most damaging ones are:

  • Nickel
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Cadmium
  • Iodine

Therefore, if you have been exposing your teeth to these metallic elements, then they might be the source of staining.


It should not be a surprise that smoking can cause staining. The smoke of tobacco contains chemicals that directly stain your stain. They form a characteristic yellow-brown stain.

Grinding/Clenching of Your Teeth

Grinding your teeth causes extrinsic staining because it provokes micro-cracks of the incisional edges of your teeth, which allow staining agents to act easily and rapidly.


As you age, the enamel of your teeth becomes thinner, and therefore, it leads to staining, especially if you expose them to elements like tobacco, metallic elements, and colored drinks and do not remove plaque buildup.

What Things Cause Intrinsic Staining?

Now, let us explore the causes of intrinsic staining, because unlike extrinsic staining, they cause the direct discoloration of your teeth.

Dental Trauma

They provoke staining due to pulp necrosis, or on the other hand, internal resorption, which is the loss of tooth structure within the root canals.


Cavities, provoked by tooth decay, which are a result of bacteria growth due to plaque buildup and poor hygiene, also are a known cause of intrinsic staining.


If you have been taking antibiotics, then you should know that they are a known cause of staining, especially minocycline and tetracycline. Both chelate calcium ions and they incorporate into your teeth, bone, and cartilage, which inevitably leads to staining.

For example, if someone took them during the years of tooth development, then the teeth would develop a yellow-green discoloration, and as tetracycline becomes oxidized, the stains become brown.

Other causes of this type of staining include:

  • Hemolytic Disease
  • Enamel Hypoplasia
  • Dentinogenesis imperfecta.


How to Remove Teeth Stains Once for All?

Be it extrinsic or intrinsic staining, our LED teeth whitening treatment can help you because we combine this powerful technology with our special whitening gel, to remove stains like no other method.

If you want to discover how we can make it happen in 20 minutes, just check Our Services. You will learn all about our process and technology, so you can see how we can deliver amazing results in record time.

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