You brush, you floss, you use mouthwash, avoid smoking and other tobacco products, but your teeth still get stained! It can be frustrating to not know why your pearly whites aren’t very pearly or white, even when you practice appropriate dental hygiene. Well it might not be a lack of oral care, but rather the food and drinks you consume daily.
Intensely colored foods and beverages tend to be the biggest offenders; the more intense the color the more potential there is for staining. Think of it this way, if you have a nice, white table cloth that you are worried about spilling any food or drink on in fear that it might stain, then you can be certain it has the potential to stain your teeth!
There are 3 factors in foods and beverages that can contribute to teeth stains:
1. Chromogens: These are intensely pigmented molecule that give foods and drinks their color. They have the ability to latch on to dental enamel and stain the teeth
2. Acidity: Foods and drinks that are high in acidity, including some that are not brightly colored, also promote staining. They can break down the dental enamel, which temporarily softens teeth and makes in easier for chromogens to latch on.
3. Tannins: This family of food compounds adds bitterness and acidity to certain foods and also makes it easier for chromogens to attach. Tannins are found in plants, seeds, bark, wood, leaves, and fruit skins. For example, tannins are use as a textural element in wine that makes it taste dry. Tannins are also in tea.
So what foods and beverages contain these factors that might be contributing to your stained teeth? Here are some potential teeth staining foods and beverages out there:
- Wine: Red wine is an acidic beverage that contains chromogens and tannins, both notorious for staining teeth. However, white wine can also be a secondary-staining agent if you are fond of following up your class of pinot grigio with some black tea. The acidity in the white wine softens the enamel and allows for the chromogens in in the tea to latch on to teeth.
- Tea: Black tea is rich in stain-promoting tannins and also contains chromogens due to its dark color. Dentists even say that tea is a bigger stainer than coffee, which contains chromogens but is low in tannins. Herbal, green, and white teas are less likely to stain your teeth than black or earl grey tea.
- Soda: Highly acidic and chromogen-rich, dark colas can cause significant staining. However, don’t rule out light-colored soft drinks, such as sprite, because the acidity in the beverage can promote staining of teeth by other foods and beverages.
- Sports Drinks: The acid in the drink can soften tooth enamel and set the stage for stains.
- Berries: blueberries, cranberries, grapes, blackberries, and other colored fruits (with their corresponding juices, pies, and other foods and drinks they can make) can cause stains.
- Sauces: Soy sauce, tomato sauce, curry sauce, and other intensely colored sauces are highly acidic and have the potential to cause stains.
- Sweets: Hard candies, popsicles, suckers, and other artificially colored but oh-so-yummy foods often have teeth-staining coloring agents. If it turns your tongue a different color, there is a good chance it’ll do the same to your teeth.
I am not saying to completely avoid these foods, because lets be honest…we all need a nice glass a wine and a popsicle every once and while. However, there are some tips to minimize the effects these foods can have on your teeth:
Use a straw. keeps the teeth-staining beverage away from the teeth.
Swallow promptly. Savor the flavors, but not for too long because lowering exposure to the stain-promoting substance reduces the risk of teeth stains. It is important, however, to chew food thoroughly and not gulp down your beverages so you avoid choking.
Swish with water afterwards. It is not always convenient to brush your teeth after eating or drinking, so swish your mouth with water and brush later so that those chromogens don’t latch on. You can also chew sugarless gum as an alternative.
So let DurhamDDS get those pearly whites back to what they should be, pearly and white! Set up an appointment for a dental exam and cleaning by calling 919-286-0779. We offer a generous helping of dental services for patients of all ages. For more information visit our website at durhamdds.com. Did you find this article informative and helpful? Like us on Facebook or +1 us on gmail. It is very easy to do, right at the top of the article! Thanks!