Stained teeth are often the only thing that prevents the perfect smile. Not many people can pull off that perfect smile, as unsightly and unwanted tooth discoloration affects millions of Americans, particularly adults and senior citizens.
Getting your pearly whites to be “pearly” can be an obsessive task. The tooth whitening industry (which barely existed a generation ago) generates more than $10 billion in annual revenue, while Americans spend more than $1 billion in tooth whitening products every year.
Instead of spending money on these products, we have a better idea: avoid teeth staining in the first place. One of the best ways to keep your teeth ivory-white is to understand which foods actually cause staining.
Keep these foods in mind, and you’ll no longer cringe when it’s time to “say cheese!” And if you love dairy products, don’t worry…cheese isn’t on the list!
Foods with Serious Tooth-Staining Credentials
Here are a handful of foods that accelerate teeth staining:
- Citrus fruits. Oranges, limes, lemons and the like have gained favor lately due to their high vitamin C concentration. But there’s something else they’re high in: corrosive acid. The acidic compounds in citrus fruits wear away the tooth’s enamel, creating the ideal environment for stains to take hold.
- Sports drinks. Gatorade, Powerade and other sports drinks may be good at replenishing vital electrolytes, but they’re also loaded with sugar and acids. This enamel-annoying combination is one of the worst things you can drink. Want to stay hydrated while keeping your teeth white? Opt for water instead. Coconut water is also a viable option, as it contains natural sugars and less acid than sports drinks.
- Indian food. Curry lovers, take note – those tasty Indian dishes like chicken tikka masala, shrimp vindaloo, and Rogan josh curry contain plenty of plant tannins and acids from dry spices and marinades. If the weekly trip to your local Indian eatery is a must, brushing your teeth afterwards can help prevent teeth stains.
- Hard candy. All candy can stain your teeth – but hard candy is the worst offender. Sticky sugar easily lodges between your teeth (and even between your teeth and gums), which creates the perfect conditions for harmful acids to form. Teeth stains are sometimes a precursor to actual tooth decay. To satisfy that insatiable sweet tooth, try a plain chocolate bar or natural honey.
- Red wine. Packed with tannins, red wine also contains subtle acidic compounds which find a way into those small crevices in your teeth. Rinse with water after enjoying a glass of red wine, or try a handful of nuts afterwards; nuts have been shown to counteract some of the staining mechanisms caused by drinking wine.
- Berries. While they’re one of the healthier foods you can eat – berries are veritable fiber-bombs, and they’re chock-full of antioxidants and flavonoids – they’re unfortunately one of the primary culprits that cause stained teeth. The sugars and acid in berries (not to mention their dark, vibrant color) can quickly discolor the whitest teeth. Once that big slice of blueberry pie is done, a quick floss and brush will do you good – and your teeth will thank you, too!
Rigorous and Regular Teeth Maintenance: The Key to Combating Stains Effectively
Given that so many foods and substances can stain your teeth, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to totally eliminate ALL these foods from your diet. Instead, you need a plan of action to keep those stains from appearing in the first place. And like so many other issues with your teeth and gums, common-sense care is always the best plan of action.
To keep your teeth from staining, remember to:
- Brush regularly. At least twice per day is recommended, and bonus points if you’re able to squeeze in an occasional lunchtime brush.
- Floss daily. Just one thorough flossing (preferably right before your nighttime brushing) can reduce plaque buildup, prevent cavities and improve overall oral health!
- Sip with a straw. The occasional sugary soft drink is almost unavoidable – but if you must indulge, drink these types of beverages with a straw. This simple act funnels sugars, corn syrup, dyes and other stain-causing substances away from your teeth. If they never come in contact with your teeth in the first place, there’s a good chance you’ll avoid unsightly stains.
- Go see your dentist. Nothing tops timely, professional care. And the dentists at Dr. Dental can help your teeth remain stain-free. Plus, our complete line of affordable dental services will ensure optimal teeth and gum health for you and your family!
If your teeth become stained – and even the most disciplined and dedicated oral health fanatics can encounter discolored teeth – Dr. Dental’s regular, routine cleanings can help. Our dentists can assist with a host of other dental issues as well, including fillings, implants, oral hygiene procedures and more.
For more information about Dr. Dental, give our office a call at 877-776-9833, or stop by one of our greater New England-area offices. Thanks for reading our blog!