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What Causes Brown Stains on Teeth?

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.

Tooth Decay

Cavities, a common cause of tooth stains and discoloration, often show up as dark spots, black marks on teeth, brown spots on teeth, or even a light brown spot on the tooth and 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, a result of poor oral hygiene, is the buildup leftover from bacteria that isn’t removed through brushing and flossing, leading to brown lines on teeth, stains on teeth, or brown spots between teeth.

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 or teeth discoloration.


Foods that are high in chromogens, which are dark pigments, or that contain tannic acid can lead to discolored teeth and permanently stain 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 too much fluoride or 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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Sudden brown stains on teeth can be caused by a variety of factors, including tooth decay, tartar buildup, enamel erosion, certain foods and drinks, tobacco use, and certain health conditions. It’s important to consult with a dental professional if you notice sudden changes in the color of your teeth.

A brown line on a tooth can be caused by various factors, including tartar buildup, certain foods and drinks, or even specific dental conditions. It’s essential to consult with a dental professional to determine the exact cause and appropriate treatment.

Poor oral hygiene can result in the accumulation of plaque and tartar on the teeth. Over time, this buildup can harden and turn brown, leading to noticeable brown spots on the teeth. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can help prevent this discoloration.

Teeth stains can be caused by a variety of factors including tooth decay, tartar buildup, enamel erosion, certain foods and drinks, tobacco use, and specific health conditions. Regular dental check-ups and maintaining good oral hygiene can help in preventing these stains.

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