Posted by Dr. Julie Boudreault On 14-06-2021
Your teeth work hard. While you might do a good job at protecting them with proper brushing and flossing, it can be frustrating to see they aren’t as white as you’d like. This is because every day they are exposed to all kinds of things that can lead to staining from smoking to certain medications and from some foods to drinks.
If you find you are constantly in the need for teeth whitening services Milton dentists offer, here we look at the eight foods and drinks that stain your teeth, with some tips to help keep your teeth white.
1. Dark Berries
It makes good sense to consider the colour of the berries you eat when it comes to stain worries. Since the pigment in the berries vary in colour, so too does their ability to stain your teeth. The worst are blackberries and blueberries. However raspberries and cranberries can also stain your teeth.
A good choice for berries is strawberries, as they can actually help keep your teeth white. They contain malic acid, a substance that occurs naturally in foods like apples. This substance is so effective at increasing saliva to help remove harmful debris from your mouth that it is often found in toothpastes.
The more saliva you produce, the more natural protection you have against tooth decay and the faster the pigments in food are washed away. So when reaching for berries at the grocery store, always choose strawberries.
2. Red Wine
We’re sorry to say that that lovely glass of red wine you enjoy with dinner or while meeting with friends contains teeth staining tannins. Tannins love to stick to teeth and act like a dye leaving stains behind. Perhaps choose a nice sparkling, rose, or white next time?
As above, red wine is deeply coloured and contains the tannins that cause staining. An even worse drink is Sangria which contains both tannin packed red wine and fruit that contributes to staining. Both work together to cover up the lovely whiter tones of your teeth.
If you want a nice cocktail on a warm summer day, a good choice is lighter coloured drinks, especially those containing pineapple, watermelon, or papaya juices. Pineapple dissolves pellicle, which is supposed to protect your teeth, but actually absorbs food pigments which enhances staining. Papaya on the other hand contains papain, which also provides a source of bromelain, while watermelon uses malic acid to help reduce risk for staining.
Curry is delicious, but it’s distinct yellow colour is also a pigment that can stain your teeth. You can avoid the staining by making your own curry powder and leaving out the bright yellow turmeric. You won’t notice much of a difference in flavour while avoiding the yellowing effects of the brightly coloured spice.
5. Coffee and Tea
Sorry we’re adding two of the most popular breakfast beverages around to the list. However, both are deep in colour and strong in their ability to stain. With coffee, your teeth also become more porous, which makes them more vulnerable to staining. This is because the pigments have easier access to your soft dentin below the enamel.
6. Balsamic Vinegar
Another deeply pigmented food source, this tangy vinegar is very popular in a number of dishes, as well as used as a condiment. However, one look at its deep dark colour and you know it must mean stains. One of the main reasons it is so bad is that it also contains higher levels of sugar than other types of vinegar. So combined with the colour, the sticky sweetness will stay on your teeth longer.
Sprinkling it directly to your food is even worse, so avoid dipping your bread in it or drizzling it on your salads. A good alternative here would be red wine vinegar. It’s much paler, and not as sweet, but still adds a nice tang and depth of flavour.
7. Red Pasta Sauce
Those delicious tomato based red pasta sauces are packed with flavour as well as acid. The tomatoes in the sauce are deep red, and will stay on teeth longer due to the acid. A good way to counteract the red is to eat something dark green first like salad.
A good choice is broccoli because broccoli is not only the right colour to provide a protective film over your teeth, but it also contains a lot of iron which protects your teeth from the bacteria that erode your protective tooth enamel.
8. Dark Sugary Drinks
Colas, iced teas, energy drinks and even dark natural juices can all cause staining. You shouldn’t be drinking these anyways, so use teeth staining as the final straw and avoid them altogether. Your smile will thank you! And you’ll also reduce risk for tooth decay as a bonus.
Tips to Reduce Staining
Here are some tips to help reduce tooth staining:
- An Apple a Day: Apples keep both the doctor and dentist away thanks to their high concentration of stain removing malic acid.
- Choose Cheese: Cheese is packed with calcium and phosphorus which protects tooth enamel while also stimulating saliva and reducing risk of tooth decay thanks to the lactic acid.
- Sip Water: Water promotes saliva production while also rinsing away all the things that can stain teeth.
- Get Milk: Milk, like cheese, helps produce saliva, but also contains casein, which uses calcium phosphate to prevent plaque and in turn staining. If you don’t like milk, eat yogurt. You can also enjoy your tea and coffee with reduced risk for staining by adding milk or cream. This will take away the potency of the deep dark colour and prevent the tannins in tea from setting into your teeth.
- Use a Straw: Sipping drinks that can stain using a straw can keep the liquid from coming into contact with your teeth. Although sipping red wine with a straw is not quite socially acceptable, it will keep your smile whiter!
- Reduce Staining Drinks and Foods: You don’t have to completely eliminate the goods on our list, as many offer health benefits such as berries. What you should do is ensure you reduce how often you enjoy them, so you aren’t constantly introducing staining food and drinks to your teeth. It’s all about moderation!
These tips will help keep your teeth white and your smile bright. For information on the tooth whitening services Milton patients use to remove stains, call Milltown Dental at (905) 878-8528 or CONTACT US HERE.