Stained Teeth: Common Culprits

Did you know that many of your favorite foods and drinks can stain your teeth? It is always good to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth after consuming these items, but did you know that drinking milk, eating vegetables, or even eating hard cheeses can help you combat stains? We compiled a list of things that you may or may have not known can discolor your teeth.

  • Tomato-based pasta sauces: your go-to dinner of spaghetti and meatballs can be staining your pearly whites! The acidity in the tomatoes, in addition to their bright red coloring, are both culprits for tooth discoloration.
    What are acids? Acids make the enamel of your teeth softer and more rough, so it is easier for stains to stick.
  • Berries: while berries are great for your overall health (tons of antioxidants) they can also stain your teeth. The deep pigmentation in cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries will stain. Whether they are consumed as a juice, jellies, jams, or eaten whole, they can definitely stain your teeth.
  • Tea causes more stains than coffee: most people may think that coffee is the biggest beverage culprit for staining, but it is actually tea that is the biggest offender! It is more likely that coffee will stain your teeth due to the high tannin content that is in tea.
    What are tannins? Tannins are plant-based compounds that make stains adhere to teeth easier
    Tea also is full of acid, which also causes teeth to stain easier. Even white tea can stain teeth! Of course, it would be better to choose white, green, or herbal teas versus black tea. Still, all teas stain: black teas stain teeth yellow, and green teas stain them grey.
  • Sodas stain teeth: your favorite (non-alcoholic) bubbly is harmful to your teeth. When you are downing a cold soda, your teeth will also contract, and makes them easier to stain. Both very hot and very cold drinks will do this! How else soda is a pretty terrible beverage option: the acids in soda chip away at the protective layer of your tooth, the enamel. Also, all the sweeteners (artificial or real sugars) make a great breeding ground for tooth decay. Dark colored sodas contain chromogens, which stain teeth very easily!
    What are chromogens? Chromogens are compounds that have very dark, strong pigments and stick to the enamel of your teeth easily.

Other common foods and beverages that stain:

  • Curry powders
  • Sports drinks
  • Red and white wine (Did you know white wine is more acidic than red wine?)
  • Fruit juices
  • Hard candies, colored candies
    • This is because artificial colorings are from food coloring, which is very dark and aggressive colors!
  • Condiments, dressings, etc.
    • Ketchup, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegrettes are very common culprits of staining
  • Beets

If you are reading this list in dismay, don’t worry! There are actually foods that help combat stains! They are:

  • Strawberries: they contain malic acid, which help remove plaque.
  • Baking soda: try scrubbing your teeth with this once a week.
  • High fiber fruits: think apples and pears. The high fiber content help “scrub” your teeth when you eat them!
  • Cheese: creates a higher pH level in the mouth, which lowers cavity risk.
  • Water: just rinsing your mouth with this after eating helps clear the acids and plenty of water keeps gums and teeth healthy.

Stained teeth aren’t forever!

Now, if your teeth are stained, there are solutions to fixing them and making them pearly white. There are many over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for you to whiten your teeth (check out this or this). For the best results possible, an in-office whitening treatment is the best option. Ask us about Zoom! Whitening today – it is a quick, in-office procedure that give you a bright, white smile.