Some of your favorite foods might be causing your teeth to stain. While it’s not fun to see your teeth lose their whiteness or get subtle stains, understanding what causes those stains can help you eliminate them going forward. Tooth staining is caused by a few things, including strong pigments in foods, tannins that allow stains to stick more easily and acids that change your tooth enamel to allow staining to set.
What foods stain teeth?
A number of foods can stain teeth, including:
- Curry: This yellow spice can discolor teeth, especially when eaten frequently.
- Pasta sauce: Blame the tomato acids and red color for tooth staining when eating pasta or pizza.
- Berries: It’s not surprising that these intensely-jewel colored fruits cause staining. It doesn’t matter if you eat them or drink them, staining can occur.
- Food dye: That coloring in your icing or candy can impact your tooth coloring.
- Balsamic vinegar: The dark color and stickiness can darken the tooth.
What drinks stain teeth?
Wine, coffee, sports beverages, tea and soda are among the most likely liquid culprits to stain your teeth. It’s not just sugar and alcohol that make some of these drinks questionable for any age group. You can blame acid for the staining problems. Liquids can get into crevices and between teeth, places that are harder to clean, which can worsen the problem.
How to prevent tooth staining
There are a number of ways to prevent tooth staining, including some you probably haven’t thought about.
- Eat your green veggies: Munch on a salad or dark green vegetables like broccoli before eating a tooth-staining food like tomato sauce. Why? They’ll give your teeth a protective film, which will help deter staining from foods. Eating lettuce along with balsamic vinegar can deflect staining from that condiment.
- Eat vegetables and fresh fruits: While eating a meal with staining potential, like curry, mix in fresh fruits and vegetables including celery, cauliflower, carrots and apples. They’ll help prevent staining while you eat.
- Eat cheese: Hard cheeses, eaten after the offending foods or drinks, helps neutralize the acids causing stains, and can also help strengthen teeth.
- Water: Drinking water or even milk, will help remove some of the coloring before it sets in. Another option is to rinse your mouth with water within half an hour of eating or drinking these stain-causing foods and drinks, giving them less time to do their damage.
- Brushing your teeth: Brushing your teeth soon after eating is the best way to prevent discoloration from foods and drinks. Brushing is a manual way to eliminate the food’s acids or other staining properties, while toothpaste gives the brush extra whitening and cleaning power. You can also try a whitening toothpaste.
- Flossing: By removing plaque between the teeth, flossing helps eliminate places for potential staining.
- Change your diet: You can still eat and drink the staining items, but do so less frequently. That will change the amount of acid, tannins and pigments in contact with your teeth.
Getting your teeth cleaned regularly will help keep your smile white, and the polishing smooths fine cracks in your teeth. That makes it less likely for staining to occur there. Check with your St. Petersburg, Florida dentist to find out the best ways you can remove stains from your teeth going forward. Make an appointment with Klement Family Dental for all your emergency dental and regular dental needs.