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Foods to Avoid Staining Your Teeth

February 7, 2014

Our teeth say a lot about us - even the foods we eat are reflected on the colors of our teeth. Stained or discolored teeth are attributed largely to certain foods so we have come up with a list of foods to avoid staining your teeth.

Why do teeth stain?

The enamel of our teeth is porous which makes it highly susceptible to stains. Usually, colored foods and beverages are major causes of discolored teeth. However, it’s not just the color of food that you need to look out for but also the food’s level of acidity and temperature. Acidic foods and beverages, even ones that are not brightly colored, promote stains by wearing away at the enamel and temporarily softening the teeth and making them more susceptible to stains. A classic example would be hot coffee.

List of foods to avoid staining your teeth

“The rule of thumb is anything that can stain a white T-shirt can stain your teeth too.”  

  • Soda and sports drinks. These carbonated drinks are full of acid and they strip away your tooth enamel long after you have stopped drinking – causing further erosion of the enamel and subsequent staining.
  • Coffee and tea. These drinks have large amounts of tannins that are highly staining. The darker the beverage, the stronger the staining that could occur. Add heat into the mix and you not only erode your teeth enamel but also expand them making them more porous and susceptible to stains.
  • Wine. Both red and white wines can stain your teeth. Red wine contains tannins that stain while white wine has an acidic composition making teeth more prone to staining.
  • Candy. If you have noticed chewing candy and having colored teeth and tongue afterwards, it is most likely that it could stain your teeth for good. Sugar starts an acid attack on your teeth and we have already established how acidity plays a role in staining teeth.
  • Berries. Although great for your overall health, all kinds of berries can stain your teeth too. So, if you love eating berries, be sure to rinse out your mouth thoroughly with water after each indulgence.

While chances are you still might not be able to give up your morning coffee or the occasional wine indulgence, there are ways to enjoy these foods without having to increase the chances of staining your teeth.

Use a straw when drinking. Using a straw helps keep staining liquids away from the front teeth where stains can be more noticed.

Drink and swallow – quickly. You can still savor the taste and flavor of foods and drinks but be mindful of how long stain-causing foods stay in your mouth. The longer the teeth is exposed to it, the higher the chances of staining. It is also a good idea to limit intake of teeth staining foods – soda and candy were never good for anybody anyway.

Do not overbrush your teeth. Do not brush immediately after eating or drinking – either brush 30 minutes before or after. The American Dental Association recommends that one wait at least 30 minutes after a meal before brushing one’s teeth. This will allow saliva to neutralize the acids in the mouth.

Brighten Your Pearly Whites

If staining has occurred, there are natural ways to whiten one’s teeth and improve one’s smile. However, if these methods aren’t enough, Dr. Reese offers professional teeth whitening services. His practice and clinic can provide you with a complete variety of services to improve your smile, whether it be simple whitening, repair of a single front tooth, to veneers of the entire smile for maximum smile beautification. He is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Association for Functional Orthodontics. Schedule an appointment by calling 317-882-0228 today.