Foods That Are Notorious For Staining Your Teeth
Watching what you eat and drink is essential to keep a healthy white smile. Looking after your smile, keeping your teeth looking and feeling great takes more than just brushing, flossing and seeing a dental hygienist or dentist regularly. Dentists such as Stockport based Holly House Dental are one of the leading dental practices that can help you care for your teeth and offer advice to reduce the damage everyday foods can cause. But why do some foods stain your teeth, while others do not, and what should we avoid?
What causes discoloration?
Some food and drinks can leave our teeth stained and cause enamel damage, which eventually leaves our teeth vulnerable to discoloration from the chromogen content of what we eat and drink.
Chromogen is a pigment-producing substance that sticks to tooth enamel, causing staining. Tannins such as those found in tea help chromogens stick too, which intensifies staining. Combine this with acidic drinks or food which erode tooth enamel we give the chromogen a bigger area to attack and stick.
Even foods we consider healthy and pretty good for us can cause teeth staining. Understanding what foods can cause problems and adapting our routines to protect our teeth can certainly help our teeth stay looking and feeling better longer.
Everyday foods that stain your teeth
Tea and coffee – These contain harmful tannins, with tea, in particular, causing discoloration. You only need to check your cup after you finish to see the damage your teeth are exposed to.
Enamel is the protection your teeth need. As well as tea and coffee, energy drinks and colas contain acids, sugars, and even artificial sugars that can send your saliva PH plummeting and the lower your mouth PH levels, the more you are at risk of enamel loss. The acidity will also provide a welcoming environment for bacterial growth, leading to diseased gums. This may not happen to you, but energy drinks can cause you to become wired, and as a result, you may grind your teeth, causing breaks and tooth loss. They are also related to higher incidences of acid reflux, which helps cause cavities.
Fruit juices – dark juices in particular, including popular choices such as cranberry and grape juice, contain concentrated natural sources of dark pigment and are highly acidic, so they should be drunk in moderation. Lighter juices such as apple juice are less harmful. Whilst they have similar acidity levels, they may help neutralize stains caused by other drinks or food.
Red wine – if you love a glass or two of red wine, you will no doubt be aware that it is one of the most common causes of tooth discoloration and staining. It’s not a good idea to head to clean your teeth straight after drinking, wait an hour before brushing to give the microscopically corrosive chromogens and acidity a chance to dissipate. Pairing wine with cheese can help reduce acids too.
Curry and tomato-based sauces – Again, these are full of high acidity and intense color. You can reduce the effects of tomato and turmeric (the yellow one) by adding green leafy vegetables and brushing your teeth and tongue pretty quickly after eating.
Berries and Beets – both are as good at staining teeth as they are clothes, so that should be a warning. They are full of nutrients, but again, it’s recommended to clean your teeth within an hour of eating them. If that’s not possible, aim to rinse your mouth with water after eating.
It’s unnecessary to cut everything from your diet, but be mindful of how much and when you consume them and tailor your teeth-cleaning habits. So anything that is strong in color or high in acidity and you should beware.
Keep up a good oral hygiene regime and regularly visit your dentist and hygienist to deal with any issues and take preventative measures to reduce or correct problems promptly. If stained teeth are a problem, professional teeth whitening and at-home treatments can help bring your smile back. However, you might have to take care to avoid doing the same damage again after whitening.