Sudden brown stains between teeth

Brown stains appearing on your teeth may be due to either extrinsic or intrinsic factors that range from consuming dark colored foods and drinks to aging to poor oral hygiene to medication side effects. 

The various common causes of tooth discoloration are discussed below:

Sudden brown stains between teeth

Common causes of Brown Stains on Teeth


Your teeth’s enamel starts to thin and become worn down as you get older, which tends to give them a yellow tint. Age-related discoloration frequently results from both external and internal causes.

The erosion of tooth enamel means that you are more likely to absorb stains from the various foods and beverages you consume. While discoloration affects the entire tooth, the area between your teeth might appear darker in color than the tooth’s surface, making the stain more noticeable.

Keep in mind that the tooth’s inside may also be the source of the browning. Dentin, the layer immediately beneath the enamel, is darker nature darker. As the enamel thins out, more dentin may become visible, causing your teeth to appear brown.

To get rid of the dark spots, think about tooth whitening options, including both over-the-counter and professional solutions.

Tartar Deposits

Most tartar buildup occurs along your gum line and in the spaces between your teeth. Due to the porous nature of tartar, it is easily stained and discolored. Because of this, foods, drinks, and other elements can give it a noticeable brown tint.

Lack of regular brushing and flossing frequently leads to the accumulation of tartar on teeth and in the spaces between them. It can also be a sign that you’re getting gum disease. Despite your best efforts to maintain proper oral hygiene, tartar accumulation might occasionally still happen. Make a cleaning appointment as soon as you can. Even while this might take care of the issue, the most difficult tartar buildup may occasionally require a deep cleaning.

Dental decay

Damage from tooth decay can be seen between teeth. The browning could be a sign of impending deterioration on either one or both of the two affected teeth. Consuming excessive amounts of starchy and sugary foods or beverages frequently causes deterioration. Over time, plaque will build up and adhere to the surface of teeth, harming them. If left untreated, this plaque can cause a tooth’s enamel to deteriorate and turn brown.

Food/drink stains

One of the main causes of the browning of your teeth is staining from the foods and drinks you like to consume. Your tooth’s enamel may become stained. Today, many foods and drinks, such as red wine, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and dark sauces, cause discoloration. Stains can also be produced by fruits like blueberries and blackberries. Try washing your mouth with water after consuming stain-causing food or beverages to help prevent stains. To reduce tooth exposure, you might also want to consider drinking using a straw whenever you can.

Use of Tobacco

The brown patches between your teeth could be caused by your tobacco use if you smoke, vape, use dip or snuff. Although significant staining frequently happens behind your front teeth and where you hold any smokeless tobacco products, it will also discolor the spaces in between your teeth. Regular brushing and a six-month checkup that includes polishing can be beneficial. You could require professional teeth whitening procedures if you have deeper stains.

Medications that cause tooth discoloration

Numerous drugs, particularly those in liquid form, can discolor and darken the spaces between your teeth. For instance, a medicated rinse may be necessary to treat conditions like gum disease, which might result in the brown discoloration. Look at the most recent new drugs you’ve been taking if you’ve only recently noticed that the spaces between your teeth are turning brown. In most cases, significant discoloration happens two weeks after use.

Some drugs, particularly the antibiotic tetracycline and its cousins, stain teeth. Young children frequently experience this. Other drugs that may cause black and brown patches on teeth include:

  • Medicated mouthwash – chlorhexidine
  • Glibenclamide (Glynase)

Ask your dentist if the browning is a surface stain if it persists. If so, washing or whitening methods might be able to get rid of it.


When fluoride is consumed in excess when teeth are developing, fluorosis may result in the form of streaks across the teeth that are white or grayish. Fluorosis can also cause dark brown patches and pits in severe cases.

The consumption of well water or naturally occurring mineral levels is the most common cause of fluorosis. In other words, too much fluoride can cause browning between the teeth. Children under the age of 8-years are particularly vulnerable to developing this fluorosis-related discoloration. Although fluorosis symptoms may resemble those of dental decay, it is typically not harmful.

Your dentist will need to evaluate the harm done to each tooth in order to treat fluorosis. Once this is established, a restorative or cosmetic operation will probably be required to remove the discoloration or enamel damage.


Natural tooth color varies from person to person, with some being darker than others. Other genetic factors are:

  • The strength of dental enamel
  • Reaction of enamel to acids and pigments
  • The extent of wear and tear the enamel is exposed to
  • Hereditary conditions such as dentinogenesis imperfecta
  • Developmental issues that prevent healthy bone and tooth formation

Existing dental work

Crowns, bridges, and dental fillings tend to wear down over time, losing their original color. Additionally, there is the risk of the metal used in fillings staining the tooth over time.

Melanocyte hypoplasia

This is a disorder brought on by a disruption in development that results in thin but durable enamel. It tends to cause patches of chalky, white, or yellowish brown color on the curves of teeth.

Enamel hypoplasia can be acquired, but it can also be a congenital condition ffrom birth, in which case it is referred to as amelogenesis imperfecta.

The typical causes and risk factors for enamel hypoplasia include:

  • Inadequate nutrient intake, especially of calcium
  • Premature birth or birth injury
  • Maternal illness or malnutrition during pregnancy
  • Exposure to toxins and allergens
  • Fluorosis or ingesting fluoride
  • Tooth damage or injury
  • Viral and bacterial infections, such as measles or chicken pox

Celiac disease

The initial signs of celiac disease tend to be dental in nature. They include:

  • Weak enamel
  • Pitting
  • Translucence
  • Patches or specks of brown, yellow, or whitish discolouration

The molars and incisors are frequently the areas of concern. Both sides of the mouth will show symptoms.

Dry mouth

You might be astonished to learn that teeth yellowing is greatly influenced by dry mouth. This is beause dry mouth makes it easier to build up plaque, which sets off a chain reaction of discoloration. To make matters worse, many prescription drugs, like those for high blood pressure, can cause dry mouth.


Teeth that have died due to trauma in the past will begin to turn yellow, because the blood supply is cut off. This may happen, for instance, on teeth that have been restored with root canal therapy. These teeth no longer receive nutrition, thus they will lose their vibrant, healthy appearance.

How to get rid of brown stains on teeth

The only option to get rid of yellow teeth is to use professional teeth whitening to remove the underlying stains. Only your dentist has an oxidizing whitening gel that is potent enough to remove the deeply buried, intrinsic stains. Most whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide in one way or another, and those that don’t will, upon activation, change to hydrogen peroxide. The only substance that can whiten your teeth by removing inborn stains is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

Alternatively, you can ask your dentist to recommend a suitable at-home whitening kit. Since these kits tend to have a lower concentration of peroxide, you might need to use them for longer to achieve the same results that you’d achieve in one appointment in the dentist’s office. Also keep in mind that some home-whitening-kits might not be very helpful for stains that are extremely tough and difficult.

To maintain the results of your teeth whitening, make sure to follow your dentist’s guidelines, especially on things not do do after whitening. Consume the right foods, brush and floss your teeth regularly, and visit your dentist every six months so they can remove any discolored tartar that brushing might not be able to remove through professional cleaning.



  • Editorial team

    A team comprising oral health care professionals, researchers, and professional Writers, striving to impart you with the knowledge to improve your oral health, and that of your loved ones. 

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