Unhappy with the staining on your teeth and think you could do with a spring clean? But you’re unsure what the best teeth stain removers out there are?

Over time brown marks will appear around the necks of your teeth. These can extend and be visible when you talk and smile. It gives a dirty appearance and it can feel grimy with your tongue. You can often feel the tartar sitting there, harvesting plaque and bad smells.

To combat these areas, there are a plethora of products which claim to remove teeth stains. Walk down the dental aisle in Tesco and your head will be spinning. Luckily for you, I know what works.

There’s a difference between staining on the outside of your tooth and internal discolouration. Here, we’re going to look at stains which can be removed on the outside, not lightening the internal colour of a tooth using bleaching methods.

In this article, we’ll tell you what doesn’t work and see what the greatest teeth stain remover on the market is. And it’s not what you think…

photo of two girls sharing the secret teeth stain remover formula

Who’d benefit from a teeth stain remover?

If you’ve managed to accumulate staining or marks over your teeth then you’re an ideal candidate. Staining usually looks like a brown or black area over the outside of your teeth and you can’t just remove it with a toothbrush.

The most common reasons for teeth staining include:

  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Chlorhexidine (Corsodyl) mouthwash
  • Coffee and tea
  • Red wine
  • Poor brushing leading to tartar build-up

Which teeth stain removers don’t work

Let’s clear up some misinformation generated by clever marketing campaigns first.

We’re now in a world of social media ‘influencers’. These people would smear anything on their teeth for a few quid and tell you it works, so before I tell you what the best teeth stain removers are, let me tell you what doesn’t work so you can save your time and money.

Charcoal toothpaste

photo of charcoal particles used for teeth stain removal

The most well-known celebrity dental promotion from the last few years.

The idea is the toothpaste contains an ingredient called ‘activated charcoal’. When brushing this binds to the areas that discolour and act as a teeth stain remover.

Great in theory, but the fact is there is no scientific evidence to suggest this works.

Activated charcoal is actually quite abrasive and if overused it can damage the enamel layer which doesn’t regrow. Also, a lot of charcoal toothpaste doesn’t contain fluoride, the key ingredient in toothpaste to protect your teeth from cavities.

Sorry, but charcoal is for your BBQ, not for your teeth.

Whitening toothpaste

Again, the theory is logical and I’ll hold my hands up and say it may have an effect.

A minuscule one.

Whitening toothpaste works by scrubbing stains off as you brush. Like charcoal, they have a coarser feel, and the sandy particles in them rub off the stains.

This may work for superficial minor marks, but anything more than that and it’s a lost battle and waste of hard earnt cash.

You need to be careful with whitening pastes too. Overuse can remove the enamel layer and make your teeth appear darker.

So which teeth stain removers do work?

There’s only one I’d recommend for stained teeth.

And I’ll sum this up in one word – ‘hygienist’.

A hygienist has studied extensively in the art and science of teeth stain removal. Not only can they professionally remove the grime, but can give you professional advice on how to stop it building back up tailored especially for you.

You won’t even have to spend your evening reading blogs like this any more. Bonus!

Seriously though, you wouldn’t fix your own roof unless you were a builder (or stupid) so seek professional advice with your teeth too.

Scale and Polish

You’ll have heard of the trusty scale and polish. This is your hygienist’s bread and butter.

The process…

Firstly, the hygienist will use the scaler to remove any tartar (the crusty stuff) and tough stains. Tartar usually appears as brown stains on the back fo teeth. The scaler uses sonic vibrations and water to gently knock off the pieces that shouldn’t be there. It sounds high pitched, so take some headphones if you’re not keen on the noise.

After the scaling, it’s the polishing stage. A polishing paste is placed on a rubber cup or brush. This is then used as a toothbrush to spruce up the surfaces and give a great shine. Think about polishing shoes with a brush, it’s the same result.

Scaling and polishing as a teeth stain remover works well for mild to moderate staining and calculus. If you’ve been chewing tobacco or smoking 20 per day for 2 years you’ll need something stronger.

Espresso anyone?

No. Bad. Espresso stains.


air flow patio example photo

This is the technical name, but ‘sandy water flow’ would be more accurate.

Think jet washing for your patio at the start of summer. You’ve left it all Winter and you’ve got a lovely collection of moss, bird poo and mud all over it. That’s not coming off with a bucket of soap and a brush.

Airflow is where tiny sandy particles are mixed with water and sprayed (much more gently than a jet washer I should add) on the tough stains on your teeth. It’s an incredible method of how to get remove brown stains from teeth, especially with tobacco.

This is done with precision accuracy and skilled hands.

It leaves an incredible gleaming finish.

Or go all out and combine them

photo showing white teeth

So I promised you a formula…

If you want the ultimate teeth stain remover and the cleanest, freshest mouth in the world then combine them both. This is the perfect method of how to remove stains from teeth instantly. The scale will remove the hard tartar on your teeth, the airflow even the toughest stains and the polish will add that final gleam.

Scale + Air Flow + Polish = Plenty of kisses on a Friday night.


Dr Gareth Edwards Dentist AuthorDr Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS RCPS (Glasg) qualified from dental school with honours. Working from Bournemouth & Poole, he takes an interest in aesthetic dentistry, including teeth whitening and stain removal. He’s passionate about orthodontics and is a certified Invisalign and Six Month Smiles provider. For more information click here.


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