Wondering why your teeth aren’t quite as bright as they used to be?
Your genetics and the tests of time will play a key role in the color of your teeth. But so does your daily diet. What you eat and drink throughout the course of any given day can also negatively impact the color of your teeth.
When it comes to tooth staining culprits, coffee and red wine usually get the most attention, and blame. But they’re actually quite a few other foods and beverages out there that discolor your teeth too. A general rule to follow is that if a food can stain your carpet or T-shirt, it can stain your teeth too. But as with most rules, there are some exceptions.
Here are some surprising, as well as not so surprising ways, you can stain your teeth.
1. Tea– And still reigning tooth staining champion! Tea has higher levels of both acid and tannins, resulting in more teeth stains. In general, the darker your tea, the more potential it has to stain your teeth. It also doesn’t matter if you drink it iced or hot: both ways will leave a mark on your teeth.
2. White Wine– Surprised? Ok, it won’t stain your teeth as much as drinking red wine, but white wine still can stain your teeth. How? Because it also contains a lot of acidity and tannins. Both red and white are very acidic, which breaks down your enamel, allowing for stains to penetrate the surface of your tooth. Your teeth won’t stain from the wine itself, but from the other foods or beverages you consume with your white wine.
3.Tomato Sauce – The high acidity level of tomatoes coupled with their bright red color can pack quite the punch on the enamel of your teeth. From your mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce or soup, or your favorite brand of ketchup, constant exposure to even the smallest of doses can be damaging.
4. Gummie Vitamins– They’re good for you, right? Maybe, but not so great for your teeth. Gummy vitamins could be a trifecta of trouble when it comes to your teeth. They contain sugar and citric acid. Citric acid wears down your tooth enamel, so it will be more prone to discoloration. But worn enamel also makes your tooth more susceptible to decay – cavities, etc. Then there’s the sugar. Bacteria feed on sugar and produce even more acid as a result. More acid equals more softening, and the risk of decay and cavities increases. And gummy vitamins also stick to teeth, so they can linger around within your mouth. The longer sugar and citric acid are on your teeth, the more chance for damage.
5. Curries – Rich in color and flavor, many curries also rank high in staining power, mainly due to their brightly colored ingredients – turmeric and saffron. Over time, these pigments can leave a yellowish tint on your teeth.
6. Sports Drinks– They may help promote rehydration and electrolyte replacement, but most sports drinks aren’t that great for your teeth either. They’re very high in acidity, so they’ll wear down your enamel. This will make your teeth more susceptible to staining – either from the ingredients from these drinks, or when you consume other foods. They’re also high in sugar or artificial sweeteners, which will contribute to tooth decay, and cavities.
7. Fruit Juice– It’s tasty and nutritious, but fruit juice is also high in acids, which make your teeth more susceptible to staining. It’s also high in sugars, so it can build up the cavity causing bacteria that leads to cavities. And the darker the color of the juice–such as blueberry or grape–can leave a similar staining effect as red wine.
8. Clear Soda– When it comes to staining your teeth, dark sodas also get a lot of notoriety, as they should, but drinking a clear soda can also stain your teeth – in a sneaky, long term way. While dark sodas can have an immediate effect on tooth discoloration, a clear or light soda will still darken your teeth over time as the high acids from these beverages soften the tooth enamel, which will allow other stains to set in.
9. Balsamic Vinegar– Many salads and marinades just aren’t the same without balsamic vinegar. But it’s high in acidity so it can wear down your tooth enamel, and then the vinegar’s dark color stains your teeth.
10. Soy Sauce– While it’s a great accompaniment to many Asian dishes, soy sauce can also assist with the discoloration of your teeth. Combining a dark color with high concentration levels, soy sauce can linger on your teeth and discolor them long after you’ve finished your meal.
It would be considered a hardship for many us to live without these foods and beverages. Striking them off the list in order to keep our smiles bright probably isn’t going to happen. But there are some things you can do to reduce the effects of staining (and tooth decay too!).
Practicing good oral hygiene, and being mindful of your diet will help you reduce the effects of teeth stains. But if you’d like to make your beautiful smile a bit more remarkable (and brighter), we can offer you some excellent take-home whitening treatments to help add a little more wattage to your smile.
When you’re ready brighten your smile, just call us at (425) 957-4700 to schedule a teeth whitening consultation or contact us online.