Brown stains and spots can appear on teeth for any number of reasons. Sometimes they show up somewhat suddenly and other times they appear gradually. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common causes of brown stains on teeth.

brown stain

Tooth Decay

Cavities often show up as dark spots on the teeth, and they can appear anywhere. As the bacteria eats away at the enamel, it exposes the dentin layer underneath, which is darker in color, and the decayed area eventually turns a brownish color.


Plaque is the buildup leftover from bacteria that isn’t removed through brushing and flossing. It hardens into tartar, which has a yellowish or brown color.

Enamel Erosion

A diet high in acidic foods, such as soda and sugary drinks, can erode tooth enamel, and as this layer gradually thins out, the yellowish dentin layer beneath it becomes visible and causes the teeth to have a dull color.


Foods that are high in chromogens, which are dark pigments, or that contain tannic acid can permanently stain the teeth and darken them over the years. Regular use of tobacco is also known to cause severe yellowing or browning of the teeth in heavy smokers.

Other Health Conditions

Some health conditions have on very rare occasions been known to cause brown pits to form in the teeth. One of these is fluorosis, a condition caused by overexposure to large quantities of fluoride, usually through polluted drinking water. Another instance is in those with celiac disease who often have weak tooth enamel, which can lead to the formation of brown spots or bands on the teeth that can be permanent.


Fortunately, nearly any sort of discoloration or staining on the teeth can be treated and improved through dental procedures. Today’s Dental offers a number of cosmetic services including professional single-visit teeth whitening, take-home whitening kits, and veneers, all of which will drastically improve the whiteness and overall appearance of your smile.