Can Your Toothpaste Stain Your Teeth?

According to experiments conducted by researchers in Switzerland, people are attracted to a big, strong smile — and you can't really talk about a smile without talking about teeth. Despite the fact that white teeth aren't necessarily an indicator of strong teeth, 80% of Americans want a brighter smile (per What's Cooking America) and some people go to great lengths to make sure they have one. But you don't necessarily need to pay for expensive whitening treatments. In fact, there are several ways to help achieve the goal of pearly white teeth.

Although the easiest solution may be to just pick up a bottle of whitening toothpaste, some brands might be doing more harm than good and the same is true for mouthwash. Hint: the truth lies within the ingredients.

Now, let us dive into what you need to know to ensure your toothpaste and mouthwash help turn your frown upside down.

These ingredients are turning your teeth brown

Benjamin Lawlor, a cosmetic dentist in Portland, Maine told The Healthy that toothpaste and mouthwash products containing cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) can stain your teeth. CPC is used in many different types of oral hygiene products because it removes dental plaque, improves bad breath, and helps prevent gum disease, gingivitis, and tooth decay, according to New Mouth. The downside is that it can also cause brown stains to appear on the teeth and the tongue.

Dr. Lawlor said this happens because of how products containing CPC are used. All of the bacteria that were knocked loose and killed while brushing can get reattached to the teeth, gums, and tongue during the swishing. So, basically, those brown stains are from dead bacteria. It's like a microscopic cemetery in your mouth.

Before you get too grossed out, another reason for the stains may be due to an ingredient called stannous fluoride. According to Dr. Lawlor, stannous fluoride is partially made out of fragments of tin which can get stuck to the teeth and cause staining.

Either way, better options do exist. Look for products that don't contain CPC or stannous fluoride, but remember white teeth aren't your only concern. Make sure you opt for toothpaste with the right ingredients for an overall healthy mouth.