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Why Your Teeth Need Whitening

Why Your Teeth Need Whitening

Tooth stains have many causes, some of which are beyond your control. Whitening your teeth starts by identifying which types of tooth stains you have so you can choose the right products. (1), (2)
  • Extrinsic Stains: Extrinsic stains occur when particles from what you eat, drink, or smoke get stuck in the film that covers tooth enamel. Whitening your teeth with whitening toothpaste, whitening rinse, and whitening strips may be enough to keep these stains under control, along with a regular oral care routine. 
  • Intrinsic Stains: Intrinsic stains build up below the surface of the tooth or within the enamel. When you consider whitening your teeth, keep in mind that teeth stains  caused by medical conditions, medication use, or genetics and aging may be difficult to whiten. Intrinsic stains also may occur when extrinsic stains work their way through the tooth enamel and make teeth look dull or yellow. (1), (2)

Strategies for Whitening Your Teeth

Once you know what may be causing your teeth stain, you can plan a strategy for whitening your teeth. There are many options for whitening your teeth, but some are more or less effective on different types of teeth stains. If you have extrinsic stains, try whitening your teeth with a whitening paste like Crest 3D White Vivid paste, which uses abrasive particles to break up extrinsic stains and can reduce 80 percent of surface stains in 14 days. If you have intrinsic stains, whitening your teeth may require bleaching treatments. You can find products with peroxide for whitening your teeth at home, or you can visit a dentist for whitening your teeth to improve intrinsic stains. (1), (2)


  1. Vogel R. Intrinsic and extrinsic discolouration of the dentition: A review. Journal of Oral Medicine 1975;30:99-104 (cited in Crest 3D White information)
  2. Joiner A. Tooth colour: a review of the literature. Journal of Dentistry 2004;32:3-12.
  3. Watts A., Addy M. Tooth discoloration and staining: a review of the literature. British Dental Journal 2001;190:309-16.