If there’s one thing most people want from their dental health, it’s perfectly white teeth. Every time we smile, we get a chance to flash those pearly whites to the world. Although for some of us, it feels more like we’re flashing not-so-pearly yellows to the world. Yikes!
So how do we get our teeth back to white? It may feel like you’re following all the rules of good dental hygiene in order to get your teeth sparkly and white again, but you just can’t seem to get over the hump. You may be surprised to find that it could be that your food habits are contributing to the discoloration of your smile!
To understand how your food is affecting the color of your teeth, you first have to understand a little bit about what’s going on in the mouth. When you’re talking about what causes certain foods to stain your teeth, it comes down to three factors: Chromogens, Tannins, and Acidity.
Chromogens are the compounds that give many foods their heavy pigment. These compounds easily latch onto your teeth and cause discoloration.
Tannins are another form of organic dye found in foods. These also like to find all the nooks and crannies of your teeth and stay there.
Acidity in food refers to its pH level. Foods that are very acidic eventually break down your teeth’s enamel, allowing for decay and discoloration to occur.
So which foods have the highest of these three components? We’ve listed a few for you:
1. Black Tea & Coffee
Many people are already aware that prolonged coffee consumption leads to stained teeth. Coffee is very acidic and has a high amount of chromogens. But what most people don’t know is that tea has a much more detrimental effect on the color of your teeth! That’s because of its triple stack of no no’s. Not only is it very acidic and packed with chromogens, but it also is loaded with tannins. To mitigate the damage, it’s best to use a straw when possible.
No! Anything but the wine! Unfortunately both red and white wines are very acidic and riddled with tannins. You might have guessed it, red wine is another three-fold destroyer of that lovely shade of white. While white wine lacks a significant level of chromogens, it still has a significant amount of tannins that put your teeth at risk. Now that’s something to whine about!
Darker berries like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc., are acidic and high in chromogens. That makes these delicious treats liable to stain your smile.
5. Soy Sauce and Balsamic Vinegar
Sauces like these are acidic and the dark color likes to stick to your teeth. When using balsamic vinegar and/or soy sauce, try to pair them with crunchy vegetables like broccoli or lettuce to help clean the teeth as you eat.
Soda is another culprit when it comes to laying the groundwork for a less that shimmering smile. Lighter sodas are very acidic and break down the enamel of your teeth, therefore making your teeth more vulnerable to stains from other foods. Darker sodas are not only acidic, but contain chromogens as well. Not only will the darker sodas wear at your enamel, they will stain your teeth as well! Once again, using a straw when drinking soda will help minimize the discoloration.
It’s important to point out that most discoloration of teeth comes from long term consumption of these foods and long term exposure to acidity. Your teeth aren’t going to be permanently stained from eating a slice of grandma’s berry pie, or from the occasional glass of wine. However, as time goes on, it will become important to protect your teeth from these elements. Remember to always brush your teeth after consuming dark and/or acidic foods. If you don’t have a toothbrush with you, a quick rinse with water is better than nothing! Visit your dentist every few months for a teeth cleaning and watch the acidity of your diet! With these simple tips, you should be able to keep your teeth shiny and white!
If you feel like you’re teeth have been significantly stained over the years, we have simple teeth whitening solutions available for you. Give us a call and set up a consultation appointment today. We’d love to help you achieve your best smile.
NIKKI J. CHRISTIAN, DDS
3820 South Whitney Avenue
Independence, MO 64055
WESLEY L. CHRISTIAN, DDS
1400 South Outer Road
Blue Springs, MO 64015