Mission Viejo, CA – When it comes to getting your teeth bright and white, the struggle is real. There’s just no way to get your smile back to what it was back in your senior prom photos. You brush, floss, and even rinse with mouthwash religiously, but somehow, someway… your beautiful white teeth faded. What could have caused this?
As much as we hate to break it to you, it was probably some of your favorite foods.
When we were younger, our parents taught us to avoid the chewy candy and sugary sodas, telling us that they would rot our teeth and make them all fall out. But besides the obvious tooth-destroyers, some of the snacks, drinks, and even fruits we eat every day are the culprits behind our stained teeth.
So which foods stain our teeth?
Coffee & Tea
Ah, the great American addiction… coffee. When we’re craving a quick energy boost, most of us turn to our caffeinated drink of choice: coffee or tea. Both of these contains acidic polyphenols called “tannins”, which are naturally occurring compounds that are found in plant foods. They cause staining and discoloration on your teeth.
Before you throw out all your Starbucks gift cards, there might be some good news here. New research shows that adding a few teaspoons of whole milk in your cup can significantly reduce staining.
Something our peer, Dr. James Park, DMD, a dentist in La Habra mentioned to us is that there is a wide spectrum of tea. Sweet tea that is loaded with sugar is a big no-no. However, Oolong, green, or black tea can actually provide some health benefits. Provided that you do not add too much sugar.
Richly pigmented berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, and pomegranates can not only stain your clothes – they can also stain your teeth. This is especially true if you eat them regularly. While they are great superfoods, it’s best to enjoy them in moderation and remember to brush and floss when you do.
If you’re craving exotic food, be aware that curries and spices can also cause discoloration in your teeth. The bright orange/yellow/red of color is highly pigmented, leading to potential stains on your teeth. To keep your smile bright and shiny, only indulge yourself in a curry-craving every once in a while!
While balsamic vinegar is probably one of the best low-calorie options to jazz up your salad, it can stick to your teeth and lead to staining. We strongly encourage eating salads, so if you choose balsamic vinegar as your dressing, be sure to brush right away!
Don’t act surprised, you totally knew this.
Those same pesky tannins that are found in coffee and tea are also found in both red and white wine. Red wine can erode your enamel and result in pigmentation. On the other hand, white wine has been known to cause existing stains on your teeth to become darker.
However, a glass of wine consumed in moderation still has many health benefits. Keep your smile bright and white by enjoying your glass with a handful of cashews or almonds, which can prevent plaque build-up and reduce the amount of staining.
While sugar doesn’t necessarily stain teeth, it can create a breeding ground for unwanted plaque that weakens the enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to stains. Definitely be wary of sugary treats and soda.
Though tobacco and nicotine products aren’t considered “food”, they can cause irreversible damage to your oral health. Smoking or chewing tobacco can easily stain your teeth brown or yellow.
Now you might be wondering, what can I eat?
While this may have been a damper on your day, there are also tons of foods that are good for your teeth as well! For starters, cheese raises the pH in your mouth, effectively killing off unwanted plaque acid. It’s also a great source of calcium and protein, two things you need for healthy enamel. Leafy greens, apples, carrots, yogurt, and celery are also tooth-friendly options to snack on.
Most importantly, enjoy yourself! Eat a wide variety of foods and maintain a nutritious diet not just for your dental health, but your overall well-being. What’s the point of having gorgeous teeth and nothing to smile about?
If you’ve been noticing that your teeth are not quite as bright as they once were, the culprit just might be the foods you are eating. When it comes to maintaining your smile, healthy habits are essential. Brush and floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning. If you are concerned with stained or yellowing teeth, be sure to ask about teeth whitening. It’s a simple procedure that removes the discoloration from your smile and there are tons of ways to get it done, from the drugstore to the dentist’s office.
At New Generation Dentistry, our team of dentists in Mission Viejo is committed to restoring your confidence in your smile. If you’re interested in teeth whitening or any other dental procedure, Dr. Sasha and Dr. Sara will be happy to sit down and answer all your questions. Book an appointment today.
Updated for 2018.