Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

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Foods that can stain your teeth February 19, 2013

Filed under: Dental health — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 10:11 am

As you’ll see, they’re likely everything you enjoy.  But be aware of their potential to stain and we’ll give you some tips on how to minimize the staining at the end:

Tea:

Although tea has a reputation as a healthy beverage, it may not be the best choice when it comes to keeping your teeth white. Dentists say tea — especially the basic black variety — can cause more stains than coffee. However, recent studies have found that even herbal teas and white teas have the potential to erode enamel and cause tooth staining.

Certain sauces:

They may be delicious, but deeply-colored sauces — like soy sauce, tomato sauce, and curry sauce — are also believed to have significant tooth-staining potential. Consider lighter cream sauces for less damaging options and rinse or brush soon after eating to reduce the potential for teeth stains.

Sports drinks:

Acidic foods and drinks can also lead to tooth discoloration. Recent research finds that highly acidic drinks — like sports or energy drinks — can erode tooth enamel, setting the stage for staining. When exercising, limit the intake of these drinks. Water may be a better choice — at least for your teeth.

Wine:

If a food or drink can stain a tablecloth, it has the potential to stain your teeth. Red wine, an acidic drink with intensely pigmented molecules called tannins and chromogens, is notorious for tooth discoloration. White wine is even more acidic and can lead to stains, too.

Berries:

Intensely pigmented molecules stick to dental enamel. That’s why blueberries, blackberries, cherries, pomegranates, and other vibrantly colored fruits can stain teeth. Juices and pies made from those fruits can also cause stains. Fruits with less pigmentation — like white grapes and white cranberries — are less likely to stain teeth. But these acidic substances can still harm enamel, so be sure to brush and floss.

Sodas:

The acid and chromogens in these drinks can lead to serious staining of your teeth. Even light-colored sodas contain enough acid that they can encourage staining by other foods and drinks. The acidity in some carbonated drinks is so intense that it actually compares to the acidity in battery acid. Many of these beverages contain flavored additives that add to their erosive effects.

Candy and sweets:

If your favorite sweet — like hard candy, chewing gum, or popsicles — makes your tongue change colors, it may contain teeth-staining coloring agents. Fortunately, unless you eat those goodies often they probably won’t do much to stain your teeth.

So now that we’ve ruined your day by telling you everything you love will stain your teeth, how about a few tips on how to minimize their effect and still allow you to enjoy them.

First?  Moderation:

You may not want to cut all teeth-staining food and drinks out of your diet. Many of those foods and beverages — like blueberries, blackberries, and tomato sauce — are rich in antioxidants. You want these beneficial nutrients in your diet. So keep eating them — but in moderation — or substitute other antioxidant sources such as cauliflower, apples, grapefruit, and melon.

Use a straw:

Try using a straw to sip your favorite drinks — like sodas, juices, and iced tea. This should keep teeth-staining drinks away from your front teeth and reduce your risk of unsightly stains.

Swallow quickly.  Don’t gulp these foods down, just don’t let them linger in your mouth:

Don’t let stain-causing foods and drinks linger in your mouth for long. Instead, swallow them quickly to help protect your teeth from stains. To avoid choking, it’s still important to chew your food well before swallowing and be sure not to gulp.

And finally, the best thing you can do if you eat these sorts of foods:

Swish your mouth with water right after eating a stain-causing food or drink. For about 30 minutes after you consume something acidic, the enamel on your teeth is especially at risk of abrasion from tooth brushing. So rinse, then brush well after every meal. If you can’t get to your toothbrush, chew a piece of sugarless gum as soon as you’ve eaten.

Hopefully these tips will help you keep your teeth pearly white while still enjoying foods and beverages that have the potential to stain.  Remember, when in doubt, bush and floss!

Mall of Georgia Dentistry

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