It never fails that the things you love to eat and drink the most have some kind of negative impact on your health. Even drinking your daily coffee to jump start your day can lead to yellowing, stained teeth if you aren’t careful.
There’s a long list of foods and beverages that can cause a dingy smile that can make you look older. While it might seem you could never drink enough coffee or wine to turn your teeth brown, read on to learn how easy it is to cause teeth stains when you drink too much of the wrong things.
Why do teeth stain?
Your teeth become stained over time thanks to chemical compounds called chromogens. These chromogens have stronger colours that like to linger. Another culprit is tannin found in we’re sorry to say that red wine you love to sip. However, other factors are at play, including acid erosion, which can eat away at your protective tooth enamel, allowing stains to set in. If you think about the food and drinks that stain your tongue or clothes, these are the same things most likely to stain your pearly whites.
What are the worst teeth-staining beverages?
Here is a list of the worst stain causers, not just for beverages, but foods. Since some of these things are also good for you, with the vitamins and minerals you need, don’t be too quick to write them off as things you’ll never enjoy again. Instead, we list the good and bad food and beverages that lead to stains, with advice on how you can continue to enjoy the ones that come with benefits.
1. Tea and coffee
These are popular morning and afternoon beverages that provide us comfort and the strength to carry on. Because both contain stain-causing tannins and healthful benefits such as assisting with various metabolic processes, an excellent way to continue enjoying them while avoiding staining is to use some form of dairy or dairy replacement in your tea and coffee to help reduce the impact.
2. Red wine
Red wine contains antioxidants that help protect against heart disease and inflammation. Unfortunately, because red wine is very dark, the only way to avoid staining is to enjoy it occasionally. White wine does not stain, so you can always choose white instead.
3. Tomato-based sauces
Tomatoes contain a long list of essential nutrients as well as a deep red pigment that causes stains. Eating fresh tomatoes in an olive oil-based sauce can be an excellent way to enjoy tomatoes’ flavour and health benefits without the risks of staining by tomato sauce.
4. Balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is one powerfully flavourful vinegar known to lower cholesterol and help stabilize blood pressure. However, thanks to its tannins and deep colouring, it is best to add it gingerly to foods. The good news is it is a powerful flavour, so a little goes a long way.
The deep yellow of curry is from turmeric, known for many health benefits, including preventing heart disease, Alzheimer's and cancer. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, helping improve symptoms of depression and arthritis. There is no fix for this spicy favourite; just avoid getting it on anything white!
The darker the berries, the more staining they bring. However, because they are packed with vitamins and acceptable on keto diets, you still want to enjoy them as a snack or for breakfast. Choose lighter coloured berries and avoid the deep blue ones like blueberries and blackberries.
Another food packed full of vitamins and minerals; there are too many health benefits to list here. However, these little beauties won’t just stain your teeth, but anything they come into contact with. The good news is there are new varieties to enjoy sans the ruby red colour, so choose these instead.
There is nothing good about cola, so just don’t drink it. Not only does it stain, but it also wears away your tooth enamel. Just say no.
9. Fruit juices
Fruit juice is packed with sugar and very little fibre, so it’s something to avoid—the darker the fruit, the worse the stains. Drink water instead.
10. Soy sauce
This food isn’t overly bad, but it does contain tons of salt. Along with its dark colour, that makes it something to consider cutting out.
How to Reduce Tooth Staining
We know expecting you to cut out all of these foods and drinks is probably asking too much. So there are some things you can do to help keep your teeth whiter:
Substitutes: If you drink a lot of black coffee and tea, consider finding replacements such as light coloured herbal teas.
Rinse: If you must enjoy stain prone food and drinks, give your mouth a good rinse right away.
Straws: Straws can help reduce staining, but remember, plastics aren’t good for the environment!
Gum: Gum with xylitol helps stimulate more saliva production, helping cleanse your mouth after indulging in stain prone food and drinks.
Go for crunch: Crunchy fruit and veggies like apples, carrots and celery also boost saliva while naturally scrubbing your teeth to help remove stains.
Good oral hygiene: Always brush twice a day.
Regular professional cleanings: Our hygienists use the tools needed to help reduce staining. However, at your appointments, we can also offer advice about cleaning and the best tooth whitening treatments available.
Teeth whitening toothpaste and kits: Using whitening toothpaste and kits can help, but they can also cause different issues, including sensitive teeth. Speak to our team for advice on the best toothpaste and whitening kits for your needs.
While there are over the counter treatments available, our professional teeth whitening has long-lasting effects, with a more potent yet safer mix of whitening ingredients. They also won’t harm your teeth, gums, and cheeks like over the counter kits purchased in the drug store.
If you would like more information about how to avoid staining your teeth, call Guelph Family Dentistry at (888) 588-1691 or contact us here.