White, dazzling teeth is an absolute must for an amazing smile. You can’t be your absolute best without it. And while there are cosmetic solutions to that can bring back the brilliance in your teeth, it’s best to avoid foods that cause them to stain in the first place. Here is a list of foods that can dim your smile.
Tea may be hailed as a health drink, but it may not be the best for keeping your teeth white. Tea, particularly dark colored teas, contain tannins that promote staining by increasing the ability of chromogens to stick to tooth enamel. Chromogen is a pigment-producing substance that easily adheres to tooth enamel.
Avoid dark colored tea like Earl Grey or English breakfast tea. Opt for green, white or herbal teas. Since they’re lighter in color they won’t stain your teeth as much.
- Black coffee
It might be hard to get up in the morning without it, but coffee is one of the great stain offenders. Teeth enamel is actually porous, making it easy for colored foods and beverages, such as coffee, to be absorbed and stay there. The acidic nature of coffee makes it no-good for your teeth twice. Acidic foods and beverages wear away tooth enamel, making them more susceptible to stains.
Add a splash of milk to your joe to lighten it up. You won’t just get your shot of caffeine for the day, you’ll also get a dose of calcium and vitamin D from milk. Both of which are good for the teeth. Otherwise, just try to drink water after your coffee to help wash away the stain.
- Red wine
Studies show that red wine may have heart health benefits as well as anti-inflammatory properties, which may be good for gum disease. However, its deep red/purple color and tannins are certain to stay on your teeth. Opt for white wine or champagne instead. If you truly can’t resist, swish water around your mouth to wash away and minimize the stain left behind.
- Colored Soda
Dark colored sodas, including diet ones, are particularly harmful to teeth because of their color and acid content. Sodas contain carbonic, citric and phosphoric acid, which erode away tooth enamel, making them more susceptible to stains. In addition, extreme cold temperatures, the manner in which sodas are usually consumed, causes teeth to contract. This constant contraction and expansion makes teeth more porous and making it easier for the stain to penetrate the enamel. The high sugar content in sodas also pose a danger to your smile as they promote tooth decay.
If you can’t cut your sugar habit, try using a straw to sip the soda and limit its contact with your teeth.
- Popsicles, slushies, and colored candy
They may be quite satisfying on your palate on a hot summer day, but they can wreak havoc to your smile. Popsicles, slushies and hard candies contain colorants that can stain your tongue, lips and teeth. If you must satisfy your sweet tooth, chew a sugarless gum with no artificial coloring. This is not only a healthier alternative, it also helps prevent the buildup of bacteria in the mouth which hastens staining. If you must indulge in popsicles, choose lemon ice or light colored flavors.
- Fruits and berries
Cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, pomegranates and other vibrant fruits can leave a colorful stain on your teeth. Pies and juice made from them can leave a stain just as well. Opt for paler fruits like white grapes or white cranberries. However, these fruits still contain acid that can erode away enamel, so brush your teeth after eating.
- Soy sauce
Dark beverages aren’t the only ones that can stain your teeth. Evidently, the dark sauces that we add in our food can stain just as well. Remember that if it can stain a table cloth, it’ll probably stain your teeth too. Use light soy sauce instead or just use it sparingly. Soy sauce has high sodium content, so that’s another reason to use as little of it as much as possible.
- Balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar may be tasty, but its flavor comes with a price—it can leave stain on your teeth because of its dark hue. If you must use balsamic vinegar in your dressing, serve it with lettuce. Lettuce helps protect teeth from stain by forming a film over teeth that acts as a barrier against stain-forming foods. If a recipe calls for vinegar, use light colored vinegar instead like rice wine vinegar or a spritz of lemon juice.
- Tomato sauce and ketchup
Ketchup and tomato-based sauces can stain your teeth because of their color and because of the high level of acidity in tomatoes. But that’s no reason to avoid them. You can mitigate the degree of staining by eating an appetizer of spinach or broccoli. Like lettuce, these vegetables form a protective film over teeth, helping to make stains adhere less to the enamel.
Beets, particularly red beets, contain powerful staining agents. They are particularly potent in juice form since they are more concentrated. Make sure to brush your teeth within an hour after consuming beets or drinking beet juice to arrest the formation of stains.