Habits, Foods, and Drinks that Stain Your Teeth

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Twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and professional teeth whitening procedures can help you maintain a bright smile, but you can make the effects of teeth bleaching whitening treatments last longer by carefully monitoring your food choices and behaviors. Bad habits that stain your teeth include smoking, chewing tobacco, and neglecting oral hygiene. The biggest edible contributors come in the form of intensely colored foods and drinks. If a food or beverage stains a white tablecloth, it could potentially stain your teeth. The presence of pigments called chromogens is responsible. Foods containing tannins enhance the stain-producing abilities of chromogens, and foods with high acid content contribute by weakening enamel and making it more vulnerable.

Beverages and Foods that Stain Teeth

  • Red wine contains acid, chromogens, and tannins, and it is notorious for staining teeth. White wine, although it is not a colored liquid, also promotes staining.
  • Hard candies, popsicles, and gum often contain strong pigments that cause stains.
  • Acidic sports drinks soften tooth enamel, and promote staining caused by other foods.
  • Deeply colored sauces such as tomato-based sauces, soy sauce, and curry sauce have tooth-staining potential.
  • Brightly colored berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries easily stain teeth.
  • Cola drinks contain acid and chromogens. Light-colored carbonated drinks also promote stains because of their acidity.
  • Black tea is rich in tannins, and it is considered to cause staining even more aggressively than coffee. Herbal, green, and white teas are less likely to stain teeth.

4 Tips for Avoiding Teeth Stains

Many stain-causing foods offer great health benefits, so you don’t want to avoid them entirely. Moderation is key. Here are a few tips to help you protect your teeth while enjoying healthy foods that can leave stains.

  1. Swallow the food or liquid as quickly as possible; don’t let it linger inside your mouth.
  2. Drink through a straw to minimize contact with tooth-staining beverages.
  3. Swish your mouth with water after consuming foods that stain teeth.
  4. Chew sugarless gum after eating or drinking.

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