Staining can be either within the tooth or on the surface. Staining within the teeth, eg due to ageing or certain drugs taken when the teeth are forming, can only be treated by whitening procedures. Staining on the surface of the teeth is very common. It is generally caused by tea, coffee, port, red wine or smoking, and can be unsightly and damaging to your confidence. Some dental mouthwashes can also cause staining if used long term – ask your dentist for advice. Such staining is generally easy and painless to remove with the special instruments available to the hygienist.