Food That Can Stain Your Teeth

Food That Can Stain Your Teeth

Dan Montelongo -

Tooth enamel is porous making it extremely susceptible to stains. Essentially, colored foods and beverages are absorbed by your teeth and stains become embedded and that can lead to a yellow or brown tinge. However, it’s not just the color of food that you need to look out for, the level of acidity of the food can also make a difference in your tooth color. 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.Why do bright colors stain your teeth? Color in foods and beverages come from chromogens, or intensely pigmented molecules that easily adhere to dental enamel. Also, a group of food compounds know as tannins(found in coffee, tea, red wine, pomegranate, citrus fruits, smoked foods and legumes to name a few)increase staining potential by boosting the chromogens ability to stick to enamel. Think of it this way: If a food or beverage can leave permanent stains on clothes or carpets, it can probably taint your teeth.Heat is another factor that is often overlooked. Very hot or cold beverages are dangerous to your smile because they change the temperature of teeth as you drink them. The temperature change can cause teeth to expand or contract, making it easier for stains to penetrate the enamel.

Coffee: Adding a splash of milk can lessen the staining effect, but coffee, because of its dark color and acidic nature, easily latches on to tooth enamel.

Tea: Tea has equal the staining power of coffee because of its tannins and also because it is generally drank at very high temperatures. To avoid any damage avoid dark colored teas and go for green, white, or other herbal teas.

Red Wine: Studies suggest that wine reduces inflammation and can therefore be good for gum disease, but its deep red/purple color and its tannins will ensure that part of that color will be left behind on your teeth. If you cannot resist, rinse your mouth after drinking or try the Supersmile Quikee which is specially formulated to remove this build-up as it happens.

Colored Soda: Colored sodas, including diet options, instantly discolor teeth. The citric acids can erode enamel and the regular soda is packed with sugar which promotes tooth decay.

Fruit Juices: Juices, especially dark juices like grape and cranberry, leave a colorful tinge on the teeth and tongue. Eating whole fruits or diluting your juices into spritzers is much more tooth-friendly option.

Colored candy and popsicles: Hard candy, gum, and popsicles contain colorants that will transfer to the teeth and embed in the porous enamel. Sugarless gum with no artificial colors is a health and tooth conscious alternative. And if you must indulge in candy or popsicles, choose lemon flavors over bright berry flavors.

Dressings, Soy Sauce and Balsamic Vinegar: Dark liquids that you add to your food, especially acidic ones, leave behind nasty stains. Opt for lighter colored condiments such as rice vinegar or lemon.

Tomato Sauce and Ketchup: Tomato based sauces can stain your teeth because of their bright red color and also because of the high levels of acidity in tomatoes. Eating foods such as lettuce or broccoli beforehand can form a protective barrier on the teeth and can help mitigate the level of staining, however, nothing will prevent the stains from adhering.

Berries: Blueberries, cherries, blackberries, pomegranates, and raspberries are packed with antioxidants but their dark skins stain teeth.

Beets: Beets have very powerful staining agents. Beets, when in juice form are even worse culprits because they are most concentrated. Brush your teeth within an hour after consuming beets or beet juice so stains don’t have time to form.

Curry: This delicious Indian spice is a well-known tooth stainer. Its natural yellow or sometimes red color leaves a tinge on teeth. Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth directly after consumption.