A bright white smile can take years off your appearance and boost your confidence, but according to the American Dental Association, one out of every four adults are embarrassed to smile because of the appearance of their teeth. Many of us feel self-conscious because our teeth are stained or discolored, and this could be the result of the food that we are eating. You probably already know that wine and tea are notorious foods that stain your teeth, but there are others that might not be so obvious…
Reasons Why Foods Stain Teeth
Tooth enamel is very porous, which makes teeth susceptible to staining. Chemical compounds called chromogens give certain foods and drinks their strong color. This means that the level of color your food has can be a big factor behind whether they could stain your teeth or not. Foods and drinks also contain a substance called tannin, which makes their color stick to your teeth enamel. Acidic foods can also weaken the surface of your enamel, making it more vulnerable to staining.
Foods that Stain Teeth
- Coffee: The darkness of coffee can easily stain your teeth, even if you only have one or two cups a day. You can prevent some staining by adding dairy or a dairy alternative, which will lighten its color.
- Soda: Dark sodas, including diet, are especially harmful to teeth because of their color. In addition, the phosphoric and citric acids in soda erode the tooth enamel, and the sweeteners in regular soda promote tooth decay.
- Berries and Fruit Juices: Blackberries, blueberries, pomegranates, and other dark berries contain dark pigmentation that can cause staining on teeth. Eating these berries can leave behind tiny particles that can penetrate the pores in your enamel and remain attached to the teeth. If your teeth have higher porosity, this will lead to more persistent stains. Just like these deep-colored fruits, dark juices—like cranberry and grape—can also discolor your teeth.
- Popsicles: If something stains your lips and tongue, it is also going to stain your teeth. This means that if you eat a darker colored popsicle it could lead to staining. Popsicles also have sugar and acids that will wear away at your teeth.
- Soy Sauce: Fans of Asian cuisine might not enjoy reading this, but it’s not just dark beverages that will stain your teeth: dark liquids used to flavor foods can do damage, as well. If you eat sushi or other cuisines that call for soy sauce, use it sparingly.
- Balsamic Vinegar: Just as discussed above, balsamic vinegar’s richness comes with a cost, as its dark color is a tooth stainer. The one upside to this is if eaten with salad, lettuce actually forms a film over teeth that acts as a barrier to stain-forming foods!
- Pasta Sauce: The tomatoes in pasta sauce contain the perfect properties that leave your teeth vulnerable to staining. Between their acidity, bright red color, and tendency to cling to your teeth, pasta sauce easily penetrates the enamel and leaves embarrassing stains.
- Curry: This staple of Indian cooking is notorious for making teeth yellow. The color of curry is very intense, so it’s best to limit this in your diet.
Maintaining a white smile can be difficult especially with a laundry list of foods that stain teeth. Since we cannot cut out every food that could lead to embarrassing discoloration, there are a few things you can do to help minimize the damage:
- Use a straw when drinking dark-colored beverages. This keeps the pigment and acidity away from your teeth.
- Brush about 30 minutes after you eat foods that could potentially cause staining.
- Use teeth whitening toothpaste.
- If you are not able to brush your teeth, consider rinsing your mouth after eating.
- Keep your regular dental check-ups and cleanings with your dentist!
Temple Family Dentistry offers professional teeth whitening services at our Temple, PA dentists office. We offer several options, ranging from teeth whitening services that yield results immediately, and other options that can be used at home. Contact Dr. Dan today to learn more about teeth whitening services at our practice and finally say goodbye to self-consciousness about your smile!