Teeth not as white as they used to be? Here’s what might be causing it
It’s not easy to maintain a perfectly white smile, so there’s no shame if you’ve noticed your teeth don’t quite have that sparkle they used to. So, what’s causing your teeth staining?
What, with all the good wine and good food here on the Central Coast and that morning coffee you can’t go without, you’re probably all too familiar with the teeth staining effects those things can have. But our friendly Atascadero dentist is here to provide you with a list of the worst culprits when it comes to teeth staining and strategies you can take to prevent staining and whiten your smile.
Of course, we all know that darker foods and drinks can have a staining effect on your teeth. But it’s not only red wine, coffee and cola that are culprits; acids in certain foods and drinks can also wear down your enamel and dull the shine on your teeth.
Here are nine teeth-staining foods and drinks to be aware of and steer clear of as much as possible:
Tea and coffee. These morning must-haves both contain tannins, which cause staining. Adding milk in your tea or coffee may help to counteract the staining.
Red wine. Living in wine country, this is a tough one for everyone. But unfortunately for our teeth, red wine is one of the most common causes of tooth staining.
Cola. The dark coloring, coupled with acids that wear away at your teeth, make cola a definite no for your teeth.
Fruit juices. Just like wine, dark juices, such as cranberry, blueberry and grape juices, will leave stains on your teeth.
Tomato sauce. On one hand, tomatoes are a great source of many important nutrients, but their deep, rich color can also wreak havoc on your teeth.
Balsamic vinegar. The deep pigmentation in balsamic vinegar means you need to watch out for its effects on your teeth.
Energy and sports drinks. According to one 2012 study, these drinks can break down your teeth’s enamel, which contributes to stains.
This study also indicated that energy drinks seem to have higher acidity than sports drinks.
Sweets and candy. Especially chocolate can cause mild staining to your teeth. Hard and gummy-type candies also contain colored dyes that can settle on your enamel.
Berries. They may be a healthy snack otherwise, but darker berries are another tooth-staining culprit.
What can you do about tooth staining?
Now, we know this list contains a whole lot of tasty foods and drinks, so we’re not saying you can never enjoy these things if you want a sparkly white smile. But if you make an effort to limit these teeth-staining culprits, like opting for white wine over red or a lighter tea instead of coffee, there are also some tactics you can employ when you do indulge.
- Rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking something that may stain your teeth – or better yet, try to time it so you can brush right afterward. But be sure to wait 30 minutes to an hour to brush after having acidic food or drink so you don’t damage enamel by brushing it away.
- Use a straw when drinking cold drinks like cola or juice.
- Gum that contains xylitol can help to stimulate more saliva, which cleanses your mouth. You can also use a product like BasicBites to help normalize the pH in the mouth.
- Eat plenty of crunchy fruit and veg, like apples, carrots and celery as they boost saliva and scrub your teeth, acting as natural stain removers.
- Make sure you brush twice a day and floss at least once.
If you do have staining on your teeth or just want a brighter smile, our Atascadero dental team at Guittard & Sierra Family Dentistry is here to help. Ask about our teeth whitening process and also how regular cleanings can help give you a whiter smile.