Everyone wants a beautiful smile, but keeping those pearly whites from discoloring requires more than the twice-daily brushing session.
Discoloring and dental stains can be caused by things like aging, certain medications, fluoride in water, or even trauma to the teeth.
These things might be hard to do something about, but did you know that what you eat and drink will also greatly impact the color of your teeth? Sure, just about everyone knows of a food or two that will stain your teeth, but the list is actually quite long!
Below we’ve gathered some of the common culprits behind a yellowing smile. And while you won’t have to stay away from these foods and drinks forever, knowing the offenders will make keeping your smile bright so much easier.
1. Tea and Coffee
This one probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Most people know that the tannins in these popular breakfast drinks discolor your teeth. Unfortunately, coffee and tea don’t only stain your teeth, they also leave your teeth more susceptible to staining from other foods by changing the pH in your mouth.
While adding a drop of milk to your coffee or tea will help some, drinking coffee daily is probably going to stain your teeth in the end.
You can try to drink green or white tea rather than black since these kinds of tea contain fewer tannins than the traditional black. Herbal tea is a great choice as far as teas go, and they can be very tasty.
2. Sodas and Sports Drinks
The acidity in sports drinks leaves teeth more vulnerable to staining. Many sports drinks also have strong color pigments that will stain your teeth. Dark sodas, even if they’re the diet kind, will also stain your teeth if drank daily.
3. Red and White Wines
Red wine is often listed as a drink that will stain your teeth, but white wine isn’t much better. Both of them can make your teeth less white and more yellow or gray.
4. Tobacco Products
Probably also not a surprise, but whether you choose cigarettes or chewing tobacco the nicotine in tobacco products will cause yellow and brown residue on teeth. This can be difficult to remove, but if they bother you, connecting with a cosmetic dentist in Calgary is a good first step.
5. Fruits and Vegetables
All berries and brightly colored fruits, but especially cranberries, cherries, blackberries, blueberries, pomegranates, and grapes will do a number on the color of your teeth. The same goes for the dark-colored juice from these fruits and berries. Beet juice is another liquid that while great for your health is not so great for your white smile.
You knew candy wasn’t great for your teeth, but in addition to the sugar and possible acidity, many candies contain colors and dyes that will stain your teeth. This is also true for brightly colored popsicles or slushies, as well as chocolate and other dark-colored candies.
7. Savory Foods
Staying away from the sweets will help, of course, but food doesn’t have to be sweet to stain your teeth. Take Balsamic Vinegar or soy sauce, for instance, both dark foods that will stain your teeth if eaten regularly. Balsamic Vinegar also has a tendency to stick to your teeth which makes it even more likely to stain. Another example is the black walnuts.
8. Brightly Colored Foods
Foods with bright colors are still very good for your body, unfortunately, they’re not so good for the color of your teeth! Curry, the bright yellow spice that’s a staple in Indian food contains enough pigment to stain your teeth if eaten regularly. Another offender is tomato sauce, which not only has a deep red color, but is also acidic and, like coffee and tea, will make your teeth more likely to stain from other foods.
What To Do About It
So what do you do? Avoid any and all foods and drinks that might stain your teeth? Not at all. Life really is too short not to enjoy your favorites. The only time you will need to stay 100% away from teeth staining foods would be the first three days after a bleaching procedure.
Instead of ditching your favorite foods on the list above, take steps to minimize the staining after consuming them with the tips below:
Try chewing sugar-free gum after eating or drinking offending foods. Drinking (and swishing) water in between eating and drinking staining foods can also help with staining.
Some people use products like salt or baking soda toothpaste to whiten teeth. These are abrasive, so be careful to not use them too often. The same goes for whitening toothpaste and products that have hydrogen peroxide in them. Using these too often might damage your enamel and make your teeth look grayish.
If your teeth are darker or more yellowish than you like, contact your cosmetic dentist to find out what might be causing it, and how to avoid it. Asking your cosmetic dentist about teeth whitening procedures is also a good idea since not all methods or products are safe for your teeth.
Keep Up Your Oral Hygiene Habits
Of course, you should always be diligent about brushing and flossing, but even more so after consuming foods and drinks that might stain your teeth. Wait for about a half-hour after eating to brush your teeth.
Even though it may seem counter-intuitive not to brush promptly after eating foods that might stain your teeth, remember that the acids found in food soften your enamel, and you can damage it if you brush your teeth too quickly after a meal. Instead, rinse your mouth with water. Just swishing water in your mouth for approximately 30 seconds helps to rinse off residue that might stain your teeth.
Drink Your Water
It might seem like hydration is the solution to just about every problem in the book, but in this case, it’s actually true. If you don’t drink enough, your saliva production goes down. Producing sufficient saliva is important because it helps wash away leftover particles of foods and drinks that will stain your teeth as well as bacteria that can cause cavities and plaque.
Eat Enough Fiber
Did you know that you can eat foods that will brush your teeth as you eat them? While certainly not a substitute for your twice-daily brushing session, eating foods that contain a lot of fiber will gently scrub your teeth as you chew. Some of these foods are pears, cheese, apples, spinach, broccoli, strawberries, and celery.
Eating greens like lettuce and broccoli creates a film that covers your teeth and prevents them from staining. So next time, before you reach for that bowl of pasta and sauce, finish your greens first!
Eat and Drink Less of the Worst Offenders
While cutting teeth-staining foods out of your diet isn’t necessary, cutting down on the amount you consume is a good middle ground.
If you already have significant staining of your teeth, there’s nothing wrong with giving your cosmetic dentist a call. Your dentist can give you good, educated advice about teeth whitening procedures or products, and find an option that fits your situation. A cosmetic dentist will also be able to walk you through options like dental veneers, in the case of permanent or severe staining.
You don’t have to cut dark-colored sodas, wine, or coffee out of your life for good. Simply limiting your consumption together with a few of the tips for preventing stains above, should help you keep your teeth white and youthful-looking.
Everyone deserves to have a smile they can feel confident about! Contact your Calgary Cosmetic Dentist today to learn more!