Let’s face it – your teeth are one of the first things that people notice when they talk to you. And the colour of your teeth can affect the way people perceive your appearance, both in your personal and professional life. For many of us, we face dull and stained-looking teeth due to the specific foods that stain teeth that are consumed on a regular basis – even with regular dental care.
At Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre, we are committed to helping you restore a healthy and attractive smile. If you’re curious which foods to take note of, check out this list of foods that could be staining your pearly whites, so you can cut down on them to gain an attractive, whiter-looking smile.
What Causes Tooth Stains?
Certain foods and drinks get their strong colour from special chemical compounds called “chromogens.” Others contain a substance called “tannin,” which can also make your teeth much more likely to stain. In addition, acids can wear down the teeth enamel, increasing the chance of staining.
As a rule of thumb, if a certain food is likely to stain your clothes or tongue, it is likely one of the foods that stain teeth as well.
Common Foods and Drinks that Stain Teeth the Most
We have compiled a list of the most common foods and drinks that can stain your teeth.
However, it is important to note that some of them also contain vitamins and minerals, which offer a variety of health benefits. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to cut all of these foods out of your diet – especially if you don’t consume them very often. However, if you notice that you have a specific food or drink on a regular basis, and it causes noticeable teeth staining, you can try cutting down on it.
1. Berries and Fruits
Vibrant berries and fruits, such as blueberries, cranberries, cherries, and pomegranate are great for your health, but they can considerably stain your teeth.
Even though they contain flavonoids, antioxidants, and anthocyanins, they also include potent pigments that can dye anything they come into contact with. These pigments can get trapped at the surface of your teeth, eventually changing their natural white colour. So, try to limit the amount of berry consumption and rinse your mouth immediately after to achieve a whiter smile.
If you’ve ever spilled beet juice on your clothes, you know how easily it stains. There is no exception for your teeth either. The staining agents get right at your enamel, so try to consume in moderation if you don’t want bright red teeth.
3. Coffee and Tea
Your favourite comfort drinks – coffee and tea, also contain tannins that are linked to the discolouration of your teeth. And when it comes to tea, different types of tea turn your teeth different hues. For example, green teas discolour teeth with a greyish hue, and black tea turns teeth more yellow.
4. Pasta Sauce
Tomato-based sources that are dark-red in colour can also leave your teeth vulnerable to staining. The acids from the tomato sauce cause your enamel to become more porous, making it more susceptible to tarnishing. The combination of the dark red colour and acidity creates a double attack on your teeth. It is a good idea to avoid dark-color soy sauce as well.
5. Red and White Wine
Sure, you’ve heard that red wine can discolour your teeth, but light-colored white wine can also influence staining, just in a different way. Where red wine’s staining abilities come from the dark tannins that turn teeth to shades of a purple-grey, white wine has increased acid content that can erode and etch away at your enamel. Some experts believe that the acid can create pockets on the surface that allows other staining substances to leach deeper, wreaking havoc on your white teeth.
6. Turmeric Spice
If you enjoy Indian and exotic dishes, you may wish to limit your turmeric spice intake. The bold deep yellow pigments in this spice can turn your teeth just as yellow over time. Turmeric can also stain anything it touches, so be careful when using it.
7. Balsamic Vinegar
Another culprit that can darken your teeth is balsamic vinegar. The dark pigments as well as the sticky texture can cause dark colours to form on your enamel. Eating greens with balsamic can help to prevent the balsamic vinegar from sticking to the teeth by creating a protective film.
8. Sports and Energy Drinks
Highly acidic foods and drinks have a negative impact on your teeth. Energy and sports drinks can erode the protective coat of enamel, setting the stage for stains. Instead, try to drink clean water during workouts.
9. Cola, Soda, and Other Carbonated Drinks
Looking for a reason to cut back on carbonated drinks? Thanks to dyes and acids, these drinks can cause some serious stains. In addition, the chemicals used to add flavour can also erode your enamel.
10. Candy and Sweets
If your favourite sweet, like chewing gum, candy, or a Popsicle, turns your tongue a different colour, it can also easily stain your teeth. Luckily, unless you eat these goodies on a daily basis, they probably won’t cause too much damage.
What Else Can Stain Your Teeth?
Your favourite foods that stain teeth might not be the only issue. If you are noticing discolouration of your teeth, the following offenders can be to blame as well:
1. Tobacco Products
Tobacco stains can be caused by smoking cigars, cigarettes, pipes, or chewing tobacco. These products can negatively affect the color of your teeth because they contain the following two chemical compounds:
- Tar, which is naturally dark
- Nicotine, which is colorless but can turn your teeth yellow in the presence of oxygen
2. Wear and Tear
Over time, your teeth can wear and tear, which can lead to tooth discoloration. After years of chewing and brushing your teeth, your enamel gradually gets thinner. This makes the yellow-coloured dentin underneath show through, causing the darker and stained appearance of your teeth.
3. Certain Medications
You can also get intrinsic stains on your teeth from certain antibiotics like tetracycline if taken before the age of 7. This medication leads to calcium deposition during the formation of adult teeth, which can look like stripe-like discoloration or bands that can be very difficult to get rid of.
4. Trauma to a Tooth
The trauma of a baby tooth can affect the growing permanent tooth. If the enamel doesn’t form properly, the adult tooth can look more yellow in colour.
In addition, if a part of the enamel of an adult tooth chips away, and the naturally yellow dentin layer is exposed, the tooth will look darker.
An infection in the tooth pulp can cause the entire tooth to become discoloured. Advanced tooth decay can break down the soft tissue beneath the tooth enamel, which, in turn, can cause damage to the tooth root and give it a grayish appearance. You might require a root canal to clean out the infection and decay.
What Can You Do to Prevent Staining?
Even though some factors that can stain teeth are out of your control, it is possible to minimize staining with a few at-home tips. If you are dealing with stubborn discoloration or teeth stains, you may need to visit Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre for a professional whitening procedure.
Stain Prevention Tips
- Brush your teeth after eating tooth-staining foods. Make it a habit to brush and floss teeth soon after you have consumed food or drinks that can discolour your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with water after consuming foods that stain teeth. If you have consumed acidic food or drinks, it is best to refrain from bruising your teeth for 30 minutes after. Instead, you can rinse your mouth with water to wash some of the staining substance away.
- Cut back on the biggest culprits. While you don’t have to refrain from consuming foods and drinks that stain teeth completely, it may be a good idea to reduce the frequency to help minimize tooth discolouration.
- Drink through a straw. When drinking tea, coffee, dark-coloured fruit juices, sodas, or sports drinks, try using a straw. This can help to prevent the tooth staining liquid from contacting your teeth.
- Avoid tobacco products. Here is one more reason to give up smoking! Consult your family doctor if you need assistance eliminating tobacco products.
- Try a professional whitening procedure. At Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre, we can help you to whiten your teeth with a professional procedure. We can also create custom trays that deliver prescription-strength whitening gel to your teeth. You will wear these trays for up to 1 hour per day for a few weeks to achieve a whiter, more radiant smile.
- Try over-the-counter whitening products. You can give over-the-counter tooth whitening pastes and kits a try, but keep in mind that they don’t work as well as professional whiteners.
Restore a White Smile with Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre
You don’t have to give up your favourite foods that stain teeth for good, just remember that moderation is key to keep your teeth white! Regular teeth brushing, flossing, and scheduled checkups with your dentist will also ensure that your teeth remain the bright white colour you want them to be.
Give us a call to learn more about professional teeth whitening options.