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How to Remove Stains from Teeth: 10 Methods

by Aura Glow on Nov 02, 2020

How to Remove Stains from Teeth: 10 Methods

man smiling with arms crossed facing the camera

Dental hygiene is an important part of self-care. As we lead busy lives, sometimes our oral care can slip through the cracks. If you’ve noticed stains on your teeth, you’re not alone. 


Stains can appear on the outside of the tooth (extrinsically) or the inside of the tooth (intrinsically). Typically these stains can be caused by eating and drinking certain foods, not maintaining proper oral hygiene, or they can develop as you age. 

If you’ve noticed your smile change over the years, you may be wondering how to remove stains from teeth. Whether you’re experiencing brown stains or yellow stains, there are various whitening treatments and products available that can help with tooth discoloration. We cover 10 different ways to remove stains and achieve whiter teeth below.

1. Whitening Toothpaste 

One of the most commonly available, inexpensive, and easy to use treatments for stained teeth is the use of whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpaste is an abrasive paste that can remove extrinsic stains. These types of pastes usually contain ingredients such as silica, calcium carbonate, or aluminum oxides in higher concentrations than found in normal toothpaste. When choosing a toothpaste, look for one that contains hydrogen peroxide. This is an ingredient proven to bleach teeth. 

Best for: Extrinsic stains from coffee, tea, wine, tobacco, or acidic foods.

2.  At-Home Bleaching Kits 

at home bleaching kits are best for all types of stains

The next level of treatment for tooth staining is an at-home bleaching kit. This is a significant step up in effectiveness from a simple abrasive toothpaste — at-home kits can actually whiten the tooth enamel.


Most professional-grade at-home bleaching kits use a gel containing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the active ingredient. Both of these compounds are great oxidizing agents, effectively breaking down into water and reactive oxygen molecules. These oxygen molecules attack stains, breaking them apart and making them colorless. 

Best for: All types of stains and those who are looking to spend less money on treatment.

3. Dental Office Whitening 

Dental professionals usually offer take-home whitening kits — similar to those discussed above — or in-office whitening services. In-office whitening uses the exact same hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide gels but with a higher concentration of active ingredients.


This allows for much shorter treatment times to achieve the same result as lower concentration gels. In-office teeth whitening can be costly, often running around $1,500, and has a much higher chance of tooth sensitivity after treatment.

Best for: All types of stains and those who are looking for shorter treatment times.

4. Whitening Pens 

whitening pens are best for quick whitening treatments

For the person who wants to whiten on the go, try out a whitening pen. Whitening pens are small pens that use peroxide to whiten the surface of teeth and the crevices. All you have to do is remove the cap, twist the bottom, and brush the pen on the teeth you wish to whiten. Depending on the pen, results can be seen in four to eight days. 

Best for: Extrinsic stains from coffee, tea, wine, tobacco, or acidic foods.

5. Whitening Strips 

Whitening strips are available at many drugstores and are effective at removing extrinsic stains. They are thin strips layered with a gel that contains peroxide and other cleaning agents. When used, the peroxide will clean beneath the surface of your teeth — bringing out the whitest part. When used regularly with good oral hygiene, users should see effects within five to seven days. 

Best for: Extrinsic stains from coffee, tea, wine, tobacco, or acidic foods.

6. Oil Pulling 

coconut oil and a toothbrush

Oil pulling is a natural way to whiten teeth that you can try at home. This method has Native American origins — oil pulling was used to improve overall oral health, including stain removal. To practice oil pulling, swish oil (typically coconut oil) around in your mouth. The oil will pull stain-causing bacteria from on and in between your teeth. There are limited studies proving the effectiveness of this method, however, some people claim that it’s beneficial in cutting down on bacteria and plaque.

7. Brushing with Baking Soda 

Baking soda is another at-home teeth whitening method. Baking soda is a mild abrasive — it can remove stains from the outside of teeth. There are several ways to try out this method, however, we recommend mixing baking soda with hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide will help kill bacteria in your mouth. All you have to do is mix one tablespoon of baking soda with hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Then, brush your teeth for two minutes. Use this method twice a week for eight to 10 weeks for the best results. 

Best for: Extrinsic stains from coffee, tea, wine, tobacco, or acidic foods.

8. Brushing with Activated Charcoal 

man smiling with a toothbrush and charcoal

Activated charcoal is abrasive. It can pull off plaque and bacteria by trapping it within itself. To use charcoal to whiten teeth, dip your toothbrush in activated charcoal powder and brush like you normally would. Use this method once a week, as any more could irritate your teeth and gums

9. Changing Your Diet 

While changing your diet may not whiten teeth, it will help prevent any extrinsic stains. There are certain foods and drinks that can stain your teeth. Cutting back on sugary foods and drinks — like soda and fruity juices — is a good place to start. Coffee and red wine should be avoided as well. Eating fiber-filled fruit and vegetables and consuming more calcium-rich foods and drinks can help your teeth form stronger enamel and fight off stains. 

Best for: Preventing stains.

10. Practicing Prevention 

woman smiling while flossing

Aside from adjusting your diet, there are several other ways that you can practice prevention daily. If soda isn’t something you can give up, use a straw to prevent the liquid from hitting your teeth. Avoid nicotine and tobacco products as these can make your teeth yellow. Always brush your teeth twice a day and make sure to floss and use a fluoride-based mouthwash as well. Simple lifestyle changes like these can help preserve the color of your teeth and prevent any unwanted stains. 

Best for: Preventing stains.

Common Causes of Stains on Teeth 

Now that you know how to remove stains, let’s dive into the common causes of stains on teeth. There are three types of tooth stains: Intrinsic, extrinsic, and age or wear-related discoloration.

  • Extrinsic stains: Extrinsic stains are stains on the surface of the teeth. These stains occur from microscopic scratches and pores on the surface of the enamel. These occur from bonding or porcelain restoration, collecting dark-colored materials from food, drink, and bacteria. This is the easiest stain to treat. 
  • Intrinsic stains: Intrinsic staining occurs when discolorations are below the surface of the tooth. This internal discoloration may be from medications you took as a child, from trauma resulting in nerve damage to the tooth, or simply how the tooth enamel formed in the first place. This staining is often grayer in color and is more difficult to get rid of. 
  • Age or wear-related discoloration: As you age, the enamel of your teeth slowly erodes. Under all that beautiful white tooth enamel is a layer of yellow material called dentin. As the enamel thins, more of the dentin shows through, making the teeth appear more yellow. Add in the wear-and-tear of years of eating, drinking, and staining that accumulate over time and you end up with darkened, yellowed teeth.

The good news is, there are several ways to treat stained teeth — all with different levels of effectiveness and costs. The method you choose will depend on the type of stain you’re looking to treat.

Tooth Whitening vs. Stain Removal: What’s the Difference? 

With so many whitening methods and products on the market, it can be difficult to choose which one will work best for your smile. We’re here to help you through that process. The first step is understanding what type of stain you’re looking to treat. 


If you’re treating a surface stain due to food, drink, or smoking, you’ll need to pick a stain removal method. These methods include whitening toothpaste, whitening pens, or natural whitening methods like brushing with baking soda that can remove extrinsic stains on the enamel. 


If you’re treating intrinsic stains, you’ll need to choose a tooth whitening method. Tooth whitening methods — such as dental office whitening and take-home bleaching kits — include a bleaching agent like the carbamide teeth whitening gel that can whiten your tooth enamel. 

If you’re looking for a product that treats all types of stains, Auraglow provides professional-grade whitening products with specially formulated whitening ingredients that remove stains while protecting your enamel. Our teeth whitening kit uses a hands-free LED whitening device combined with dental-grade whitening gel proven to wipe away stains caused by wine, coffee, soda, smoking, and more. Your teeth will brighten in just one treatment, and you’ll start to love your smile again.