This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here.

The answer is yes! Tooth discoloration can be caused by a variety of factors, such as aging, certain medications, and lifestyle habits like smoking. Professional teeth whitening treatments offered by your dentist are one of the most effective ways to remove tooth discoloration. The treatment involves applying a special gel onto the surface of the teeth, which helps break down and remove stubborn stains. After this procedure, patients will typically notice an immediate improvement in their smile’s brightness and whiteness. In some cases, multiple whitening sessions may be needed for optimal results. If you’re considering professional teeth whitening to remove tooth discoloration and enhance your smile’s appearance, please consult with your dentist to discuss available options.

The causes of discolored teeth

Grossly distinguished between 2 types of discoloration: external and internal.


Depending on the cause, you can treat some reasons for unsightly teeth yourself, but for others you need help from a dentist, usually in the form of a professional teeth cleaning.

The 2 different types of discoloration explained

External stains are caused by drinking coffee, wine or tea products.

  • Smokers are also often affected by discolored & yellow teeth when nicotine & tar attach to the tooth surface.
  • Normally, this results in dark discoloration and irregular deposits.

Unfortunately, these can very often be avoided by proper dental care to prevent too many ingredients from penetrating the upper layers of the teeth.

external discoloration

External discoloration is the most common reason for unsightly deposits on teeth.

Internal stains are more stubborn and often more difficult to treat.

    • Health problems in childhood, as well as caries or root canals (dead teeth), can trigger discoloration.

In many cases, the entire tooth then takes on a dark hue.

  • Especially when the enamel thins, many dentures tend to have an unaesthetic yellow tint. Antibiotics or vitamin deficiencies can also be reasons for discoloration.


With internal discoloration, it becomes more difficult to treat the cause of the unsightly shade. In some cases, even no therapy is possible. Here, however, your own dentist can best help and respond to individual dental problems.

What is the best way to remove discoloration?

Especially in the case of external causes, thorough dental hygiene is often enough to prevent deposits and impurities.

That’s why I’ll go into the simpler remedies first, before moving on to the more elaborate (and expensive) solutions that go beyond removing individual impurities.

1. Daily use of toothbrush and dental floss

Not only does this prevent plaque (a harmful biofilm) on the teeth, but it can also protect against discoloration from certain foods.

tooth discoloration web cleaning

The best way to avoid normal tooth discoloration is to brush daily.

Toothbrushes are sufficient if you brush correctly – however, an electric device offers many advantages:

Some models, such as the Sonicare Diamond Clean Smart or the Oral-B Genius, have extra cleaning modes and attachment brushes for polishing discolored areas.

Such a toothbrush can be a wise investment especially for coffee or tea drinkers.

Tip: Here you can find the best models of all variants (Oral-B toothbrush, sonic toothbrush, ultrasonic toothbrush) from the comparison: electric toothbrushes in test.

Of course, other measures are also recommended. Even the best brush does not reach the interdental spaces.

That’s why you should rely on dental floss or an alternative such as oral irrigators to fight tooth decay bacteria.

It’s also a good idea to use mouthwashes or home remedies like coconut oil.

2. Refrain from drinking too much coffee/tea or smoking

Limiting the consumption of stimulants is easier said than done, but for many this represents the best solution

coffee & nicotine cause discolored teeth

Tea, coffee, cigarettes, or even ingredients like iron can cause tooth discoloration.

By doing so, you often not only eliminate a major cause of external discoloration, but in the case of smoking, quitting can also contribute to the rest of your health.

Maybe simply reducing the amount is enough,

3. Use whitening toothpaste

Meanwhile, there are umpteen different variants for brighter teeth * on the market.

tooth discoloration toothpaste

Normally, these creams carry additives like “whitening” or “abrasive” on the packaging.

This, of course, only works with external influences and can be painful for people with sensitive gums or exposed necks of teeth. Who calls sensitive teeth his own, better do without this variant.

Note: Here you can read more about the right toothpaste.

4. professional teeth cleaning in the office

This treatment not only removes deposits such as tartar, but also normal discoloration on the teeth.

professional teeth cleaning

The only way to get rid of already existing or stubborn deposits is with professional help.

  • This is done either by polishing or, more recently, by means of a sand jet (air-flow cleaning). With this method, many hardened impurities can be removed.
  • Since such a treatment not only fixes cosmetic flaws, but also removes impurities such as tartar, professional teeth cleaning is recommended as a means of prophylaxis (prevention of tooth decay & rotten teeth).

It is best to have this done as part of regular check-ups with his dentist.

In conjunction with consistent dental care at home, you thus already eliminate the most widespread reasons for discoloration.

By the way, this also helps against other complaints such as bad breath or inflammation of the gums (one of the most common dental problems in old age).

Teeth whitening at the dentist

Often, however, it is not enough to remove only individual impurities – the entire shade of the teeth should change.

lighten tooth discoloration

Especially as we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain white teeth without professional help due to natural enamel deterioration.

There are a few treatment methods available nowadays for this ideal of beauty, but none of them are really cheap.

Note: However, thorough dental care is also mandatory here. Otherwise, new discolorations cover the light shade already after a short time.

There are several possibilities

Most often, this measure involves treating the teeth with an active ingredient such as hydrogen peroxide, which lightens the teeth by a few shades

The dentist can either perform this teeth whitening in the office (see below) or give the patient instructions on how to do it at home.

This then usually takes a few weeks until the desired result is achieved.

Note: In the guide Getting white teeth I present both natural methods and professional bleaching in more detail.

Remove tooth discoloration yourself at home

Some manufacturers also offer so-called bleaching for home without dental supervision.

The effective dose is lower with these whitening strips from the drugstore, in order to keep the side effects as low as possible.

Nevertheless, some caution should be exercised, as both the professional version and bleaching on your own can have some unpleasant effects:

Proper application takes some practice

Often the result is not even or not very satisfactory.

Especially without the help of a dentist, many users misapply teeth whitening. As a result, the teeth take on different shades, which can look unaesthetic.

Irritated gums

The bleaching agent can also cause irritation to the gums, and even when used by a dentist, it carries certain risks that you should be aware of

The rest of the mouth as well as the stomach (if swallowed) can also be irritated.

Really serious consequences usually do not occur, the negative effects fade after a few days. Nevertheless, you should be careful.

Be careful with existing dentures

Existing dental crowns or fillings will retain their original shade and will not be affected by the whitening.

dentures & tooth discoloration

Whitening agents do not change the color of dentures.

It may then not match the lighter teeth and new crowns will be needed. This can quickly become expensive if you have a lot of existing dentures.

Durability of bleaching

This type of bleaching has a limited duration. After about half a year, you will have to whiten your teeth again, which is not only time-consuming, but also expensive.

Nevertheless, White Strips & Co can be a cheap & fast alternative to expensive treatment at the dentist. I have tested some bleaching strips (and was all in all satisfied with the result).

So long as you go in with the right expectations, these products are definitely recommended.

Whitening teeth professionally at the dentist

If you prefer to leave the application to a professional, there is also the option of bleaching your own teeth at the dentist’s office

professional teeth whitening

  1. This involves the use of a high-dose bleaching agent, which is then followed by irradiation with a laser or UV light to whiten the teeth more quickly.
  2. In contrast to home bleaching, this option lasts for several years and can thus possibly compensate for the relatively high initial costs.

Apart from this, however, there are the same side effects here, which have already been described above.

If performed incorrectly, there may be irritation or dehydration in the oral cavity, often after the procedure, the teeth are also hypersensitive for a while (eg, hot or cold food).

Whitening for internal discoloration

It is not always possible to eliminate the cause of staining by means of the above solutions.

dentist consultation

For internal discoloration, you should discuss the reasons & treatment options with your dentist.

If the reasons are not in the upper layers of the teeth but underneath, then more effort is needed.

In some circumstances, the tooth can be bleached from the inside.

  • To do this, a hole is first drilled, and then the bleaching agent is inserted inside the tooth.
  • This is a complex procedure and can only be done in several sessions at the dentist’s office.

Personal consultation is the only way to determine a possible solution to such discoloration problems.


In many cases, you can prevent discolored teeth simply by brushing daily with an appropriate toothbrush and regular dental checkups.

  • Specially in the case of external discoloration, you often have it in your own hands and can solve the problem without much effort or high costs.
  • If nevertheless still small impurities occur, you can help with a dental cleaning.

In some cases, however, you have to resort to more expensive, professional solutions. This is not always cheap – and for health reasons not necessarily necessary – but still enjoys bleaching great popularity.

getting white teeth

A consultation with your dentist can provide information about the right method for whitening your teeth.

Internal discoloration is already more difficult to treat. Due to the variety of possible reasons for this, there is often no easy way to get rid of the stains.

You won’t be able to avoid a visit to the dentist, however, if you want to get your normal shade back.

I hope this article has been of some help to you. Feel free to browse the rest of the site to learn more about dental care or help for dental problems.