One of the most important things to consider when it comes to maintaining a healthy and attractive smile is the food we eat. Unfortunately, some of our favorite snacks and drinks can cause teeth stains that are difficult to remove. By informing yourself about the biggest teeth-staining culprits, you can make better decisions about what to eat and drink to keep your teeth looking their best. Keep reading to learn more!
Types of Teeth Stains
Teeth stains can be divided into three main categories: extrinsic, intrinsic, and age-related teeth stains.
#1. Extrinsic Stains
This type of stain occurs when the outer layer of the tooth, known as the enamel, is stained by pigments from certain foods and drinks. Common culprits of extrinsic stains include coffee, tea, red wine, dark-colored juices, and certain fruits and vegetables such as blueberries and beets. Smoking can also cause extrinsic stains due to the tar and nicotine present in cigarettes.
Since extrinsic stains only affect the outer layer of the tooth, they can easily be removed using at-home whitening products or professional teeth whitening treatments.
#2. Intrinsic Stains
Unlike extrinsic stains, intrinsic stains occur when the inner layer of the tooth, known as the dentin, is stained. This type of stain is usually caused by excessive fluoride intake during childhood or certain medications such as tetracycline. Intrinsic stains are more difficult to remove than extrinsic stains since they are embedded in the tooth. Professional teeth whitening treatments may be necessary to remove intrinsic stains.
#3. Age-Related Stains
A combination of food and drink pigments and the natural aging process usually causes age-related stains. This kind of stain is more difficult to remove since it affects both the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth. Professional teeth whitening treatments may be necessary to remove age-related stains.
Top 15 Foods That Can Stain Your Teeth
Here are the top common foods and drinks that cause stained teeth:
#1. Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea are two of the most common culprits of extrinsic teeth stains. These beverages contain tannins, compounds that can help stains stick to the tooth enamel, resulting in discolored teeth. If you’re a fan of these beverages, try to limit your intake or use a straw when drinking them to reduce staining.
#2. Red Wine
Like coffee and tea, red wine contains tannins that can cause teeth staining. Red wines are also high in acidity, which can damage tooth enamel and make them more susceptible to staining.
Remember, you should wait at least 30 minutes or 1 hour before brushing your teeth after eating foods high in acid.
#3. Carbonated Drinks
Carbonated drinks contain high levels of sugar, which encourage the growth of bacteria in your mouth. The acidic nature of these drinks can also erode the enamel of your teeth, making them more prone to staining.
Berries are a delicious and nutritious snack but can cause teeth staining. Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries contain dark pigments that can stick to the enamel of your teeth, resulting in discoloration. Try consuming them in a smoothie mixed with some yogurt or milk to reduce staining.
Curry is a popular dish that can cause teeth staining due to its vibrant yellow and orange color. The pigments in the spices used to make curry can easily stick to the enamel of your teeth, causing tooth discoloration. To reduce staining, brush your teeth immediately after eating it, or try combining it with crunchy fruit and vegetables that can help to scrub away the staining pigments, such as apples or pears.
#6. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is a popular condiment that can cause teeth staining due to its dark color. So be sure to keep a good oral hygiene routine and brush your teeth after eating foods with soy sauce in it.
#7. Balsamic Vinegar
Like soy sauce, balsamic vinegar can cause teeth staining due to its dark color. It also has an acid content that can erode the enamel of your teeth, making them more prone to staining. Be sure to brush your teeth immediately after consuming it.
#8. Pasta/Tomato-Based Sauce
The acidity of tomato or pasta sauce can erode the enamel of your teeth, making them more prone to staining. After consuming foods with tomato sauce, try eating cheese or yogurt to help neutralize the acidity and reduce staining.
#9. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a delicious treat but can also cause teeth staining due to its dark color. The cocoa in dark chocolate contains high levels of tannins that can stick to the enamel of your teeth and causes discoloration.
Beets are a nutritious vegetable, but they can also cause teeth staining due to their vibrant red color. By brushing your teeth immediately after eating them, you can help to reduce staining.
#11. Popsicles and Slushies
The sugar content in these treats can fuel the growth of bacteria in your mouth, damaging the enamel of your teeth and making them more prone to staining. Simply brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after eating them can help neutralize the acidity and reduce staining.
#12. Citrus/Fruit Juices
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes contain vitamin C and other essential nutrients. However, these acidic foods can erode the enamel and expose dentin, a yellowish material underneath the enamel.
Like berries, they are rich in antioxidants and other essential nutrients but can also cause tooth stains due to their dark red color. But don’t worry! You can still enjoy the health benefits of pomegranates without worrying about staining your teeth. Just be sure to maintain a good oral hygiene routine.
#14. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are a popular beverage for athletes and active individuals, but they can also make your teeth vulnerable to staining due to their acid content. It is best to avoid sports drinks and opt for water instead if you want to maintain a healthy and bright smile.
#15. Sweets and Candy
The sugar in these treats not only causes cavities and tooth decay but can also cause teeth discoloration by fueling the growth of bacteria in your mouth, resulting in exposed dentin and a yellowish smile. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water afterward to wash away sugars left on the teeth.
What Can You Do To Combat Tooth Discoloration?
To prevent teeth staining, it is essential to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. This includes brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily. Additionally, you should limit your intake of stain-causing foods. If possible, look for alternatives that are less likely to stain your teeth. Finally, you must visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.
Visit Us For a Whiter, Brighter Smile!
At-home teeth whitening kits can help to reduce staining and tooth discoloration, but they are not as effective as professional teeth whitening treatments and can result in tooth sensitivity. Our office offers a variety of professional teeth whitening treatments that can help you achieve a brighter and whiter smile. Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment!