Foods That Actually Stain Your Teeth

Foods That Actually Stain Your Teeth

By Grace Cherian Research shows that people with whiter teeth are perceived as being more socially competent, smarter, more satisfied with their relat...

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By Grace Cherian

Research shows that people with whiter teeth are perceived as being more socially competent, smarter, more satisfied with their relationships, and more psychologically adjusted.

Here is a list of foods and drinks which tarnish your teeth. If you’re seeing tons of stains, try to cut your intake of the foods on the following list to every other day maximum, says Sally Cram, a periodontist in private practice in Washington, D.C., and spokesperson for the American Dental Association. Most importantly, stay on top of your regular dental habits, like flossing daily, brushing twice a day, and visiting your dentist’s office for regular check-ups. Here is a list of the foods that dull your smile.

Worst Foods for Your Teeth
Citrus and Acidic Foods
If you notice a yellowish tinge to your teeth, acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes might be to blame. Even though they’re nutrient-packed, these colourful foods can erode the enamel, which might expose the yellow-hued dentin—also known as the tissue beneath the enamel made up of mostly calcium and phosphate crystals, Cram says.

Coffee contains tannins that cause staining and discoloration, Cram says. Plus, because it’s acidic, it alters the pH balance of the mouth, making any acidic foods you eat afterward damage the teeth much more quickly, explains Kourosh Maddahi, a cosmetic dentist based in Beverly Hills.

His solution: Drink your coffee with a to-go lid instead of a straw. Doing so will cut back on the acidic-environment situation that coffee causes in the mouth and also prevents the fine lines that form when you pucker your lips to sip from a straw, Maddahi says.

Sugar tends to rot out your teeth. Sugar in delicious treats like cookies and hard candy (and even snack foods like chips) latch onto your teeth and become the main meal for the bacteria in your mouth. When the bacteria feed off these sugars, they release acids that lead to tooth decay, which may be dark and cause back holes in your poor teeth, Cram says.

Sugar-laden beverages act in the same way as sugar-laden snacks, giving the bacteria in your mouth plenty to feed off of, thus releasing damaging acids, Cram says. Sodas are especially dangerous, since anything carbonated is also acidic and will create holes in the teeth—and this includes sugar-free versions too, Maddahi says.

Just like coffee, tea also contains tannins, so sipping on a cup of chamomile may lead to stains. But there’s even more to it than that—like the hue it turns your teeth. “Green tea stains teeth gray, and black tea stains them yellow,” Maddahi explains. If you tend to drink green tea, invest in a high-quality option. The lower the quality, the worse the stain will be. Also consider adding a dash of milk to your cup. Research suggests that adding milk to your tea slashes its ability to stain your teeth .

Blueberries, Blackberries, and Pomegranates
While they may be chock-full of antioxidants, these richly pigmented berries have a serious stain game. Maddahi’s rule of thumb when it comes to these little superfoods: If it’s difficult to remove their stain from clothing, it’s going to be difficult removing it from teeth.

Red Wine
Wine may be responsible for teeth that have turned shades of gray—which, unfortunately, is harder to remove than yellowish stains, Maddahi says. The culprits are the same tannins that tea and coffee contain. But there is one advantage: While wine may not help your teeth stay white, recent research suggests that it may actually help fight cavities. So drink it in moderation.

White Wine
Sipping on sauvignon blanc can also steal some of the white away from your smile. One study suggests that the lighter type of wine may make tooth stains darker. So while it doesn’t actually cause stains, its acid content creates little pockets on the surface of the tooth that allow other beverages to seep in deeper, the study’s researchers explain.