Dear Dr. Hall:
I drink coffee and smoke, and you can tell from my stained teeth. What’s the best way to get rid of these coffee and tobacco stains?
—Vicky in Iowa
There is only one best toothpaste I know of that will remove tobacco stains, and that is Supersmile® whitening toothpaste. While typical smokers’ toothpastes are very harsh, Supersmile gently dissolves the protein pellicle that these stains attach to, and is so gentle that it is one of only two toothpastes I am aware of that is proven gentle enough for delicate cosmetic bonding. I’m sure it will keep these stains off your beautiful teeth.
But tobacco causes two types of staining on teeth. Initially, it accumulates on the surface like a brownish crud, as you see in the photos to the right. The upper photo shows a moderate stain. The lower one shows a heavy stain. These superficial stains can be removed with a professional cleaning or with Supersmile. But, over the years, some of the stain will soak into the teeth. Tooth enamel is a little porous, and this makes the whole tooth turn a darker color. No toothpaste will remove this. What you need at this point is a professional tooth whitening. A clear tray is made for your teeth, and you wear that tray with a whitening gel in it either during the day or at night depending on the system being used. Or you can get an in-office Zoom whitening treatment, which does the same thing. The gel that is used is oxygenating, and it penetrates into the tooth and oxidizes the stains. The good news here is that the professional bleaching will completely eliminate these stains. In fact, you can whiten your teeth beyond their original color.
Without tooth whitening treatments, tobacco can eventually make your teeth be a fairly dark brown color. And to keep up with a continuing tobacco or coffee habit, you may need touch-up whitening every year. If you have had a whitening tray made, you just need to buy a refill of the whitening gel.
Other substances will cause discolored teeth. Tea, cola drinks, and darkly pigmented berries will all be absorbed over the years by your teeth and will cause a brownish or yellowish color of the teeth.
Supersmile isn’t sold in stores, but it is available directly from the manufacturer or from many cosmetic dentists. We have a page with a link for purchasing it. Click here to visit our Supersmile page.
—Dr. David Hall
Other related links:
- Learn how to treat tetracycline stains. This comes from antibiotics taken as a child, while the teeth are forming.
- Read about the three types of stained teeth.
- Here’s some general information about whitening toothpaste.
- Here’s a discussion about toothpastes and cosmetic dental work. There are some special considerations you may want to be aware of.
- Supersmile toothpaste recommended for teeth stained with Peridex anti-bacterial rinse.
- Read about coffee stains on teeth. Coffee stains are similar to tobacco stains in that they first cause a film on the teeth but over time they absorb into the enamel.
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