How to remove teeth stains at home

Find out how to clean up your smile with these recommended teeth stain removers.

Woman smiling

by Eleanor Weaver |

If you've got less-than-pearly whites, you may be looking for ways to remove those teeth stains to renew your confidence or help clean up your smile. We spoke to Aesthetic Dental Surgeon and Dentist, Dr Manrina Rhode, who represents beauty tech brand Silk'n, for her expert advice.

Find out everything you need to know about teeth stains, how to prevent them, and the best teeth stain remover for the job.

What causes brown stains on teeth?

“Brown stains can be from the inside of the tooth or they can appear from something that has come from the outside. If the stains are from inside the tooth then this is usually developmental, due to an injury or fluorosis, which is an excess of fluoride in a child's diet.

“In adult life, if you have a knock or an injury to your tooth then blood can rush into the tooth causing it to discolour, or if the tooth dies bacteria will also cause the tooth discolour creating a brown appearance.

“On a healthy tooth brown stains can also appear from the outside due to diet choices, the likes of tea, coffee, red wine, Asian foods are typical causes, as well as also smoking.”

How to remove stains from teeth at home?

“Brushing well twice a day for two minutes with an electric toothbrush, such as the Silk’n SonicYou, can help to keep your stains at bay.

Flossing also helps as stains will often sit in between the teeth so by keeping this surface clean from plaque, it also helps keep the surface clean from stains.”

“Without a doubt my advice would be to use a really good electric toothbrush for two minutes twice a day to keep your stains at bay. I would recommend the Silk’n SonicYou which produces up to 37,000 vibrating brush strokes per minute. With 3 different brushing modes (Sensitive, Clean and White) you can personalise and switch up your brushing routine.

"SonicYou removes plaque and impurities more effectively than a manual toothbrush, ensuring that hard to reach areas are targeted. To make things even easier, SonicYou also remembers the last selected brushing mode – so you can tailor your brushing to your favourite regime if desired.

Review: "The toothbrush is quite lightweight and brushes comfortably. I am totally in love with the mint green colour. It's a beautiful showpiece in my bathroom. The toothbrush indicates with a light vibration that you are brushing for 30 seconds. Then it's time to brush the other side of your mouth, upper or lower jaw. This way, I always brush just long enough and I am assured of a healthy mouth and teeth. After brushing, my teeth feel cleaner and fresher than after brushing with a manual toothbrush."

For those on a budget who want to improve their oral hygiene, the Oral-B Pro 3 3000 Electric Toothbrush will help to deliver that deep clean. It has three brushing modes - daily clean, whitening, and sensitive - and comes with a two-minute professional timer with 30-second reminders to keep the brush moving around your mouth. Not only that, but the gum pressure control technology makes sure you're never brushing too hard.

Oral-B's unique round head can help to remove 100 per cent more plaque than a standard toothbrush and help to make your smile whiter after the first few days by removing those surface stains.

Review: "I purchased this for my son and I a week ago and already I’ve had people asking if I’ve had my teeth whitened. The first time I used this brush I couldn’t believe how good my teeth felt & I do look after my teeth but this was another level of clean! I would absolutely recommend this toothbrush."

Improve your dental hygiene in just two weeks with the Philips Sonicare 7900 Series Electric Toothbrush, available in pink or black, that's help you achieve a whiter, cleaner smile. Select from four modes (clean, white+, gum health, deep clean+) and three intensities for a personalised brushing experience.

Know when to adjust your pressure with built-in smart sensors and when to change your brush head with the Brushsync-enabled. With the handy app, you can monitor your ExpertClean progress report to help you maintain healthy brushing habits between trips to the dentist.

Review: "It cleans so well - the vibrations are strong and powerful. The 'clean' mode is the setting I usually use. It's effective, removes all stains, and reaches all the stubborn areas leaving my teeth and mouth feeling refreshed.

"I use the 'deep clean' occasionally (when I've drunk so much tea/coffee) as it's much stronger, and makes me feel exactly like when I've just had my teeth cleaned at the dentist. The 'whitening' is a bit aggressive, but it leaves my teeth feeling squeaky clean and I only use that about once every week or slightly longer. I also really like the two modes for my gums and my tongue, helping prevent both gum issues and getting rid of bad breath. A very comprehensive toothbrush (it's all I'd ever need in my dental routine). The fact that it has these different modes makes it so versatile to suit different needs."

For a super smart toothbrush, the Oral-B Smart 7 has it all. Choose from five brushing modes including gum care, whitening, and sensitive and a battery that can last up to two weeks on one charge. Much like the Oral-B Pro 3 3000 Electric Toothbrush, it has the same unique round head and gum pressure control, but it also comes with Bluetooth.

It seamlessly connects with the Oral-B app on your phone and guides you with real-time feedback on how to brush better and improve your oral health habits.

Review: "I bought this after seeing my boyfriend's teeth looking visibly more white when using this product. [...] I was worried about spending a fair bit on something like this, (I figured the price is about the gadgets more than the product itself!) I didn't want it to be like my old electric that didn't really do much more than a manual.

"But I've had it a week now and can definitely see better results, been using the polish setting in the mornings and the feather touch/soft setting in the evenings. I use the basic Colgate toothpaste (no whitener in it) and I'm seriously impressed. I have that 'dentist-clean' feeling in my mouth all day (i even sound cringy saying it but it's true) You can honestly believe the hype on this, it works and is worth the money!"

To give yourself a cleaner, fresher mouth, use a water flosser to deep clean between teeth and below the gumline where traditional brushing and flossing can't reach. The Waterpik Cordless Plus Water Flosser is fantastic, coming in a cordless, compact, and ergonomic design with a dual-pressure control system and a water reservoir large enough to accommodate 45 seconds of flossing.

Utilising a unique combination of water pressure and pulsations, it can be used by anyone, including those with braces, implants, crowns, bridges or periodontal pockets.

Review: "I bought this item a month ago and have been using it every day and I feel a difference already. My gums are healthier and the stains are gone. It is like getting a professional cleaning except you are the hygienist!"

For a cheap and cheerful floss, we'd recommend the Oral-B Pro-Expert Dental Floss, providing 40m of floss in a refreshingly cool mint flavour. Gentle on fingers and gums, this floss will get in all the hard-to-reach places where food can get stuck and plaque builds up. It easily slides between teeth and can help prevent gum problems too such as gingivitis.

Review: "Finally! A floss that doesn’t cut up your gums and cause bleeding. Or decide to get stuck in even! I have very tightly closed teeth which are always hard to floss. I always dreaded it, but since using these on my sensitive teeth, omg, no more bleeding, and hardly any plaque! Nice flavour. I hope they stick around forever because I’m buying from now on! The other reviews really helped me make a good decision to buy too so thanks for that! You won’t be disappointed!"

For a handled approach, try these floss toothpicks that come with an ergonomically designed non-slip handle and a high-tension, high molecular fibre to floss between teeth without splitting or cracking. In a pack of 100, using these daily can help prevent bad breath, gingivitis, and maintain healthy oral hygiene and white teeth.

We love the fact the handle is dual-use - you can use the handle tip to remove additional plaque and food debris in tough to reach areas. However, it's worth keeping in mind that these picks aren't very environmentally-friendly.

Review: "Absolutely brilliant dental floss picks. These are really strong and the handle makes them really easy to use. No gap is too tight for these and I have not had a single one break despite a lot of pressure being applied at times. These have really helped me reduce the build-up of plaque and calculus. Great value for money as well. Highly recommended!"

Do teeth whitening products remove stains?

For extrinsic stains on your teeth, there are plenty of teeth whitening options to make your teeth shine again that help to hide stains, more so than remove them. These include:

Whitening toothpaste

Whitening pens

• Whitening strips

Whitening gels

However, Dr Manrina doesn’t recommend these at-home treatments for teeth stain removal.

“Any product that claims to be a whitening product that is sold online or from a non-dental professional could be dangerous. Even advice you may see on social media, like rubbing strawberries or lemons on your teeth to reduce staining can cause damage long term.

“Also, when you use an abrasive substance to clean your teeth initially your teeth may look whiter because the substance can remove the surface stain, however with continued use it will also remove your enamel which will end up making your teeth more sensitive. It’s also important to know that as you remove enamel your dentine is exposed which is actually yellow in colour, so your teeth will become sensitive and can then appear more yellow!”

Read next: Top tips on how to whiten teeth for a brighter smile

What's the difference between at-home and dentists' table stain removal treatments?

If you have teeth stains that just won’t budge and are making you feel self-conscious, it’s recommended to talk to your dentist about professional whitening and in-surgery treatments for more substantial results. From your dentist, you have two options:

“Dentists can provide you with at home, or in surgery treatments, and both can be just as effective. The at-home protocol requires you to wear bespoke trays that fit your mouth and they usually need to be worn for an hour a day, or overnight, for about two weeks to get optimum whitening.

Dentist teeth whitening
©Getty Images

“If you don't have time to use your home kit every day, for two weeks, you may prefer the dentist to start the process by whitening your teeth for you using a laser which would be done in the surgery. Both will usually create the same result; it is just a personal preference as to what option suits your lifestyle.”

How to prevent new teeth stains

Preventing new teeth stains can be difficult as if the stains are caused by dietary factors, then these are hard to limit in life. I would suggest that rather than cutting these things out altogether that can contribute to staining, as many of us enjoy a black coffee or the odd glass of red wine, that we carry out great oral hygiene habits instead. Brushing twice a day for two minutes with an electric toothbrush is a great way to deter staining so that we can still enjoy these coloured foods and keep our white smile!”

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