Did you know that enamel – the thin outer covering of teeth – is naturally white, though the hue varies from person to person? However, the dentin that lies beneath the enamel is more yellowish. This means that if your enamel is thinner or more translucent, the dentin will be more visible and make your teeth appear more yellow. So in some cases, yellowing teeth are a sign that enamel is eroding due to poor oral health. But in other cases, lifestyle choices can influence the color of our teeth. Smoking is known to stain teeth, and many people experience stained teeth due to their dietary choices. So, what foods stain teeth?
What Foods Stain Teeth?
First of all, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to avoid the foods on this list. Consuming them in a different way (such as through a straw) and maintaining a good oral health routine are often all that’s needed. However, being aware of what foods stain teeth can help you make better choices. Let’s dig into it!
- Tea and Coffee: Though tea is typically quite healthy, it can cause enamel staining, especially if you choose black tea. Whether iced or hot, tea can darken your teeth. Coffee is also infamous for teeth-staining.
- Dark Sauces: Sauces with deep hues – soy sauce, tomato sauce, curry, etc. – are known to cause staining. Also, the acids in tomato sauces can cause tooth erosion. Consider a lighter, creamier sauce.
- Wine: Red wine is both dark in color and acidic, so it’s no surprise that it’s known to stain teeth. Keep in mind that because of its high acid content, white wine can actually discolor teeth too.
- Some Fruits and Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, pomegranates, and other richly colored fruits can cause staining. Keep in mind that this also applies to foods and drinks made from them (juices, pies, etc.).
- Soda and Other Carbonated Drinks: The acids, dyes, and sugars in soda don’t get along well with white teeth and can cause serious stains. Even light-colored sodas can cause problems because of their high sugar content, acids, and dyes.
- Some Candies and Sweets: Does your favorite candy, gum, or popsicle cause your tongue to change colors? Then it’s probably also affecting your teeth. Fortunately, unless you’re chomping on these treats frequently, they probably won’t cause much harm. Keep them as once-in-a-while treats.
How to Prevent Stained Teeth
If you love some of the foods and drinks listed above, you might be wondering how you can consume them without risking the color of your pearly whites. Use these tips to mitigate the damage:
- Drink through a straw. This ensures that the liquid is kept away from your precious enamel.
- Swallow quickly. Try to avoid letting teeth-staining foods and drinks linger in your mouth. Although you need to take your time chewing (of course), don’t spend any unnecessary time swirling foods or drinks around your mouth.
- Rinse afterward. After you eat something that may cause staining, rinse your mouth with water. Swish the water around your mouth and swallow (or spit, if you like). This helps wash away lingering food debris and liquid. This is especially important after consuming acidic things, because it washes away the acid but doesn’t damage the enamel (as brushing would).
- Brush your teeth. Wait at least 30 minutes and then brush your teeth. Keep in mind that if you brush too quickly after consuming teeth-staining items, you may damage the enamel. For example, the acids in wine can soften enamel, and if you brush right away, you may cause enamel erosion. Rinse your mouth, wait, and then brush.
Finally, if you’re concerned about stained teeth, consider talking to your dentist about teeth whitening.
Are you looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri? Contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!