A bright white smile is everyone’s dream. Teeth whitening procedures often cost you a lot or cause sensitivity to teeth.
In that case, it becomes necessary to detect the cause for the discoloration of your teeth and take precautions to avoid it.
Did you know that having poor oral hygiene is not the only reason for discolored teeth or stained teeth?
Certain food items, such as blackberries, red wine, tea, coffee, sauces, etc., which are consumed in our regular diet may cause staining of the teeth over the time and affect your beautiful white smile.
Keeping a check on your dietary habits is essential. Any changes in your tooth color should be detected and treated.
A dentist will educate you on the causes of teeth staining and also advice you a change of diet and oral care routine to glorify your smile. (1)
Let us read further to learn about the top ten food items that may lead to tooth discoloration and staining.
What is tooth discoloration?
Tooth discoloration is the change in color, hue or the transparency of the outer most layer of the tooth. Tooth discoloration can be of two types:
- Extrinsic – this is caused by an external agent like food and beverages. They usually stain the teeth yellow or brown. They may involve the entire surface or may taint as spots or lines on the tooth.
- Intrinsic – this is caused by body hormones, pigments or hereditary disorders. They generally involve the dentin and make it yellow or grey.
We will focus on the extrinsic factors that may stain the teeth and discolor it affecting the brightness and color of your healthy teeth.
Food items that can stain teeth
Staining caused by food items can either be cleaned easily or can give you a lot of trouble in regaining your white smile back.
Even if you have a good oral healthcare routine, accumulated stains of food and beverages consumed on a daily basis can affect the aesthetics of your smile. (2)
Let us check the food items that we need to avoid or modify in our diet to maintain our pearly white smiles.
Fruits, as we know, are functional elements of our daily diet and have nutritional properties that affect our health positively.
Certain fruits that have an intense color like –
Above fruits can change the color of your teeth if eaten in large quantities over a long period.
It doesn’t matter how you consume it, whether as a solid fruit, juice or in the form of a jelly, the staining depends on the quantity and duration.
There are plenty of hot, cold or aerated drinks that we consume in our life. Every drink that comes in contact with our teeth has a specific effect on it.
Let’s look at the drinks that primarily cause staining of your teeth –
- Coffee – black coffee is one of the commonly consumed beverage and has become a part of everyone’s morning routine. But coffee is also the main reason for yellow teeth that are hard to clean.
- Tea – as they say, if you are not a coffee person, you most definitely depend on tea. Just like coffee, tea can stain your teeth adversely and make it yellow.
Addition of milk to tea or coffee may delay the process of staining but is not the solution to the problem.
- Red wine – everyone knows that wine stains are difficult to remove from fabric. Have you ever thought if this is the case, what effect would it have on your teeth?
One glass of wine contains enough chromogens and tannins that can permanently damage your tooth color.
- Aerated drinks – every carbonated drink, for example, cola or soda or even sports drink contain acids and chromogens which are the prime cause of staining the teeth as well as demineralizing it.
No matter how light the color may be, every aerated drink affects tooth color.
Now that you know about the majority of food items that affect the color of the teeth. Let us look at food items that are a part of our daily diet.
- Sauces – who doesn’t love a sauce? But did you know that the sauces we use are acidic and have artificial food color that attaches to the tooth surface and affects its color?
Tomatoes are the main culprits. It is advised to eat green vegetables like broccoli, kale or spinach to form a protective layer around the teeth and reduce the effect of sauce on tooth color.
- Curry – Indian food is known for its rich and innovative curries that are full of flavors, color, and smell.
They also mount up to the most common cause of giving our teeth a yellow tint. The pigments like turmeric affect your teeth instantly.
It is advised to always mix your curries with certain vegetables like carrots and cauliflowers to reduce its effects.
- Candy – The color in the sweet gums and popsicles ate after food not only acts as an additional factor to tooth discoloration but also worsens the situation.
What can you do to maintain your white smile?
Whatever you eat, make sure that you don’t allow the food to stay for a longer time in your mouth. Always rinse your mouth with water after every meal or snack that you take.
In some instances, eating a slice of cheese or drinking milk also neutralizes the effect of staining especially while eating berries or fruits that are slightly acidic.
Limiting your intake to certain foods and beverages will not only maintain your health but also provide a long lasting white smile.
Brush your teeth and also make a habit of flossing your teeth to remove any food particles left interdentally and the associated plaque that may affect the color of your teeth.
You can use teeth whitening toothpaste or stain removal toothpaste under the guidance of your dentist to take an extra effort in maintaining a beautiful smile.
Quit habits like smoking and chewing cigarettes which more than staining your teeth pose a significant threat to your oral as well as overall health.
Take away message
It is good to try different foods and cuisines, but the key lies in eating in moderation and taking proper care after the meal.
While there may be several factors that may affect the color of the teeth but it is essential to have the knowledge and control the amount of food that you eat for every meal.
Visit a dentist if you are concerned about your discoloration and want to get professional teeth whitening.
Also get advice on the maintenance of your teeth and tips on preventing tooth discoloration.
Brush and floss daily to keep your teeth healthy and clean. Stay informed and live healthily.