How to remove brown stains from teeth

Having brown stains on your teeth can be embarrassing and make you feel self-conscious about smiling or laughing. Stained teeth occur for many reasons – drinking coffee, tea, or red wine, smoking cigarettes, or simply from aging. The good news is there are several ways you can remove brown stains from your teeth and restore them to a whiter, brighter smile.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the leading causes of brown-stained teeth and provide effective remedies, treatments, and prevention tips to get rid of brown stains on your teeth.

remove brown stains from teeth

Causes of Brown Stained Teeth

What leads to unsightly brown stains on your teeth? Here are some of the most common culprits:

  • Drinking Coffee, Tea & Red Wine: Beverages like coffee, black tea, and red wine contain deep brown pigments that can stick to your tooth enamel leading to stubborn stains over time. The tannins in these drinks are the primary cause.
  • Smoking Cigarettes: Tobacco smoke not only yellows your teeth but also leaves behind tar and nicotine residue that can create brownish discoloration on your teeth and along your gumline. This type of staining can be quite difficult to remove.
  • Aging: As you age, the outer enamel layer of your teeth naturally become thinner revealing the yellowish dentin underneath. This causes your teeth to appear darker and more discolored.
  • Medications: Certain prescription medications like tetracycline antibiotics can lead to intrinsic tooth staining. Children taking these medications while their teeth are still developing are most vulnerable.
  • Poor Dental Hygiene: Not properly and regularly brushing and flossing your teeth allows staining compounds to set into the microscopic crevices on your teeth. A build-up of plaque also contributes to discoloration.
  • Genetic Factors: Some people are just more prone to tooth discoloration due to thinner enamel or naturally yellowish dentin. Staining can also develop slowly over time due to small internal changes in tooth mineral structure.
  • Fluorosis: Consuming excess fluoride during the first 8 years of life can cause fluorosis, which leads to permanent enamel discoloration.
  • Trauma: A dental injury that damages tooth enamel can result in long-term brownish discoloration.
  • Excessive Metal Ions: Having certain metal fillings or crowns made from metals containing iron or copper can cause brown staining around restoration margins.

Best Home Remedies for Removing Brown Stains

Fortunately, there are many effective natural ingredients you likely have at home that can remove or minimize the appearance of brown stains on your teeth. Here are the leading evidence-based home remedies:

Baking Soda

Baking soda is mildly abrasive so it can physically scrub stains off your enamel. It also has natural whitening properties.

How to Use:

  • Mix a paste of baking soda and water
  • Apply paste to stained teeth using a soft bristled toothbrush
  • Gently brush stained areas for 2-3 minutes
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • Repeat 2-3 times per week for best results

Hydrogen Peroxide

As a natural bleaching agent, hydrogen peroxide can whiten teeth upon regular use.

How to Use:

  • Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water
  • Swish liquid around in mouth for 2-3 minutes
  • Rinse mouth thoroughly with water
  • Repeat once daily

Apple Cider Vinegar

Acidic vinegar helps dissolve staining compounds.

How to Use:

  • Mix 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar with 6 ounces water
  • Swish liquid in mouth for 30 seconds before brushing teeth as usual
  • Repeat 1-2 times daily

Coconut Oil Pulling

Swishing oil strengthens enamel and draws out toxins.

How to Use:

  • Place 2 tsp organic virgin coconut oil in mouth
  • Swirl and pull oil between teeth for 10-20 minutes
  • Spit coconut oil into trash can
  • Rinse mouth thoroughly with warm water
  • Brush teeth as normal
  • Do this daily for whiter teeth


Strawberries contain a natural astringent, malic acid, that removes surface discoloration.

How to Use:

  • Crush 2-3 fresh strawberries to form a paste
  • Apply paste to teeth and leave for 5 minutes
  • Rinse paste off teeth thoroughly
  • Repeat 2-3 times per week for stain removal

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal pulls stains from enamel like a magnet.

How to Use:

  • Mix a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder with just enough water to form a paste
  • Apply paste to teeth using a soft bristle toothbrush
  • Gently brush stained areas for 2 minutes
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • Can repeat daily or several times per week


Salt acts as a mild abrasive that can scrub away surface stains.

How to Use:

  • Mix 1 teaspoon salt with 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Add just enough water to form a paste
  • Apply paste to stained teeth
  • Gently brush for 1-2 minutes
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • Use once or twice per week for stain removal

Professional Whitening Treatments

For patients with severe, stubborn brown stains or discoloration, dentists offer several in-office whitening treatments for dramatic results in one visit.

In-Office Bleaching

This is the most effective professional whitening procedure. It involves applying a concentrated peroxide-based whitening gel directly to the teeth. A special curing light or laser is used to activate the bleaching gel which penetrates enamel and dentin to drastically whiten teeth from the inside out. Patients see an average of 8 shades whiter with in-office bleaching.

Cost: $500-$1,000 per treatment

Air Polishing

Dentists use an abrasive baking soda jet spray to remove exterior stains from enamel through gentle abrasion. Air polishing is safe for enamel and effectively brightens smile.

Cost: $100-$250 per treatment

White Fillings

Replacing dark amalgam fillings with tooth-colored composite fillings instantly gives the appearance of whiter teeth. It also removes the source of brown margins on restorations.

Cost: $150-$250 per tooth

Professional Take-Home Whitening Kits

Dentists can also provide customized take-home whitening kits with higher peroxide concentrations than over-the-counter products, leading to faster, better results.

  • Custom Whitening Trays – Your dentist takes an impression of your teeth and fabricates customized plastic trays fitted to your teeth. You’re given whitening gel with 10-15% carbamide peroxide to wear in trays for 1-2 hours daily for up to 14 days. Cost is $300-$500.
  • Whitening Strips – Your dentist prescribes professional-grade whitening strips with greater enamel penetration and often higher peroxide concentrations than OTC strips. Brands like Crest Professional Effects give noticeably whiter teeth in just days. Cost is $50-$150.

Over-the-Counter Whitening Products

For milder cases of staining, these whiteners from your local drugstore can gradually brighten teeth over 2-4 weeks:

  • Whitening Toothpaste – Contains mild abrasives and low levels of hydrogen peroxide that provide surface stain removal with regular use. Brands to try: Sensodyne Pronamel, Arm & Hammer Advance White. Cost: $5-$8 per tube.
  • Whitening Rinses – Swish hydrogen peroxide rinses like Colgate Optic White or Listerine Healthy White daily per instructions to loosen enamel stains. Cost: $10-$15 for mouthwash.
  • Whitening Strips – Popular strips like Crest Whitestrips and Colgate Optic White sticks apply peroxide gel to teeth for 30 minutes to gradually lift stains. Use daily per pack instructions. Cost: $25-$50 per kit.
  • Whitening Pens – Convenient brush-tip pens allow you to precisely apply low-concentration carbamide peroxide gels to stain spots for targeted whitening. Try Go Smile or Colgate Optic White pens. Cost: $15-$25 per pen.

Preventing Future Stains

The best way to keep your teeth pearly white is to prevent new stains from forming. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Brush & floss thoroughly twice a day
  • Visit your dentist for regular cleanings every 6 months
  • Limit staining foods/drinks like coffee, red wine, and curry
  • Drink dark beverages through a straw to minimize contact with teeth
  • Quit smoking and tobacco use which causes severe brown stains
  • Choose clear beverages like water and lemon water over staining soda and juice
  • Swish water around your mouth after consuming staining foods or drinks
  • Use an enamel-safe whitening toothpaste daily
  • Apply whitening treatments or touch-up periodically as needed
  • Avoid overly acidic foods that weaken enamel like citrus fruits and juices


While brown stains on your teeth can seem stubborn, there are many effective home remedies, over-the-counter products, and professional whitening treatments that can significantly brighten your smile. Making lifestyle changes to remove staining habits and regular dental care are also key to prevent future discoloration. So don’t hide your smile any longer! Use these proven tips and products to remove brown stains from your teeth and unveil a whiter, healthier smile.

Sharing Is Caring:

As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.

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