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Greensboro Dental Clinic, Dr. Margaret Szott | ALL blog posts
March 29, 2016

Foods That Stain Your Teeth:

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Everyone wants a bright, white smile. Studies have shown that white teeth have a positive effect on everyday life from more self-confidence to better dental check-ups. Tooth color can be altered with expensive whitening treatments and sticky strips, but keeping your mouth healthy by brushing and flossing daily, in addition to avoiding certain foods, can help prevent tooth discoloration in the first place. Below is a list of fifteen foods that commonly discolor teeth, some of which are surprising.

Woman smiling with very white beautiful teeth. No stains.

  1. Berries and Fruit Juices: The dark color of some berries stain teeth when eaten regularly. To minimize the stain, it is important that you brush and floss right after eating these fruits, especially since the skins often get stuck between your teeth. Fruit juices are often full of sugar which act as a breeding site for bacteria in the mouth and lead to more dental damage and discoloration.
  2. Coffee and Tea: Coffee and tea contain tannins that lead to staining and discoloration. Both drinks are also very acidic to the body and acidic foods can lead to erosion of enamel and tooth decay. When it comes to cavity formation on your teeth, it is not just what you are eating, but the frequency of exposure. The constant sipping of tea or coffee during the day makes you prone to stain and acid attacks to tooth enamel. The addition of milk to your coffee or tea adds a bit of casein which has been found to significantly reduce tea-induced staining.
  3. Red Wine: Tannins are everywhere - even in that glass of wine. Experts say that chewing hard foods, such as nuts, while drinking wine can scrub away plaque from teeth and lessen staining. Chewing the nuts can also stimulate saliva production which neutralizes acid attacks.
  4. Curry: The yellow color of curry stains teeth and discolors tooth-colored fillings that have been placed. Foods with curry should be eaten in moderation.
  5. Hard Candies: Candies such as Jolly Ranchers might be one of the worst foods for your teeth. The hardness of the candy can break teeth necessitating expensive restorative dental treatment and the stickiness can get stuck between your teeth and cause tooth decay. If you have a sweet tooth, it is better to eat something like dark chocolate that is not sticky - but preferably varieties with as little sugar as possible.
  6. Tomato Sauce: Anything that is a difficult stain to remove from clothing or carpet must also cause staining of your teeth. Tomatoes also are very acidic, thus it is recommended that you eat them fewer times per week.
  7. Soda: Whether full-sugar or diet, soda is acidic to the body and damaging to your dental health. Using a straw can help avoid exposure of the teeth to the acid but eventually the liquid gets around the whole mouth. Water is the best choice for your teeth and body in general.
  8. Balsamic Vinegar: While salads are a very healthy option in your diet, the balsamic vinegar that may go on it not. Balsamic is dark in color and sticky and latches onto teeth, thus causing staining.
  9. Beets: Whether whole or in juice form, beets are incredibly staining to the teeth. If you eat/drink beets, brush your teeth very soon afterwards. Alternatively, you can try pairing them with foods that are less damaging to your mouth, like cheese. Cheese reduces the acids in the mouth.
  10. Popsicles: While popsicles are low in calories, their sugar content and fruit juice base may destroy your smile. If you need something to curb your sweet tooth, chew sugarless bubblegum. Gum is very handy when it comes to mindless eating and often occurs when you are bored or watching TV.
  11. Sports Drinks: Some research suggests that sports drinks are more harmful to your smile than sodas. They weaken and damage the tissue in the teeth because of a combination of acidic components, sugars, and other additives. As previously mentioned, water is the best option for a healthy mouth.
  12. Lemons: A new health fad is drinking hot water with lemon in the morning. But the truth is that citrus fruits such as lemons and limes are highly acidic and erode enamel in teeth, thus revealing yellow tissue below the surface.

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