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John P. Goodman DDS

Foods and Drinks that Stain the Teeth

By Dr. John Goodman on January 27, 2014

Kansas City Stained TeethAre the foods and drinks you love ruining your smile? There are several seemingly harmless products that can cause tooth discoloration. It is important to learn which foods and drinks are most likely to stain the teeth. Fortunately for Kansas City patients, you can still indulge in your favorite culinary delights without wreaking havoc on your pearly whites.

Foods and Drinks that Stain Teeth:

Drinks that stain the teeth include:

  1. Coffee and tea, while delicious and often necessary in the early hours of the day, corrode enamel and cause stains. If you can’t get by without your caffeine fix, try drinking these beverages with a straw so that they miss hitting your teeth entirely.
  2. Wine - particularly red wine - causes teeth to stain since it contains pigmented molecules known as tannins and chromogens that latch onto the teeth’s surface, discoloring the enamel. To avoid stains, indulge in moderation.
  3. Sodas, fruit juice, and sports drinks are all high in acidic content, which corrodes the protective enamel layer and paves the way for discoloration. Soda is so highly acidic that its acid content has been compared to battery acid, meaning that water may be a better choice in more ways than one!

Foods that stain the teeth include:

  1. Berries, especially those of the darker variety such as blueberries, blackberries, and cherries, are not only highly acidic, but they also contain intensely pigmented molecules that stick to enamel and stain the teeth. Since berries are rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants, you won’t want to eliminate these from your diet all together. However, eating them in moderation, rinsing the teeth with water after consumption, or swapping them for lighter fruits like apples or melons once in a while will help you receive all the health benefits minus the dental detriments.
  2. Believe it or not, even the sauce you use to add flavor to your food could be discoloring your teeth. Sauces that are rich in color like tomato and soy are believed to have significant yellowing potential. Consider seasoning with slightly lighter sauces for all the flavor minus the damage.
  3. Sweets, such as certain types of candies that contain a lot of artificial coloring, are also likely to stain the teeth. A popular way to help you remember whether or not a particular sweet has staining properties is that if it makes your tongue change color, it will more than likely make your teeth change color, too! Luckily, unless you’re a sugar addict and eat it constantly, it most likely won’t permanently stain your teeth.

How to Prevent and Treat Tooth Discoloration

A common rule of thumb for avoiding discolored teeth while still living life and enjoying all the various foods and drinks you love is to brush your teeth often, especially after indulging in stain-causing products. In most instances, good oral hygiene in conjunction with regular dental visits helps stave off stains.

If you are experiencing discoloration, you may try a whitening treatment. In extreme cases, you may need a more advanced form of cosmetic dentistry treatment such as dental bonding or porcelain veneers.

Learn More about the Causes of Tooth Discoloration

To find out more about how to avoid stains as well as the various whitening options available to you, schedule an appointment with Dr. John Goodman today.

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