If you’re a tea and/or coffee lover or you enjoy drinking red wine, you’re more than likely aware about the effects these drinks have on your teeth. Red wine and tea are two of the worst offenders in terms of teeth staining. There are so many more drinks and foods that can contribute to discolouration of your teeth. Some of the food and drinks that we’re about to look at should be cut completely out of your diet and some food and drinks simply cut down on.
What causes teeth staining?
There are chemical compounds found in brightly coloured food and drinks which can stain our teeth. The acidity can wear down your teeth which then increases the chances of stains forming.
Teeth staining foods
Here are some of the most common types of food and drink that can cause teeth staining.
1 - Soft drinks, whether sugar-free or not, do contain acid. They can be damaging to teeth and can lead to dental erosion and staining. Avoid soft drinks to help keep your teeth healthier. If you must drink soft drinks, refrain from brushing your teeth immediately after since acid softens your teeth’s structure, making them more vulnerable to abrasion.
2 - Citrus fruits are important as a component of a well-balanced diet. But, when you eat a lot of it on its own, the citric acid in the fruit can wear away at your tooth enamel. Citrus fruits such as lemons, limes and grapefruit, especially, are highly acidic. When drinking juices, consider using a straw (paper or multi-use) so that some of the acids bypasses your teeth.
3 - White and red wine contains erosive acid, which softens enamel. Red wine contains compounds called tannins, which can dry your mouth out and stain your teeth. If you plan on drinking wine, be sure to brush your teeth beforehand. This can help to reduce the amount of plaque that wine can stick to. It’s also helpful to wait 30 minutes after drinking wine to brush your teeth to avoid brushing the acid from wine into your teeth.
4 - Sport drinks. Avoid sweet, viscous liquids like some high-carb sports drinks. These are not only acidic, but the thick liquid may stick on your teeth for a long time. Water is often the best go-to for refuelling after a workout.
5 - While tomatoes are healthy to eat, they’re acidic. When you eat spaghetti with tomato sauce, it can do double damage to your enamel due to the acidic sauce breaking down your tooth’s enamel and the pasta’s carbs helping to feed bacteria that cause cavities.
6 - Tea and Coffee both contain tannins, which can cause tooth staining. You could always swill your mouth with water after drinking these drinks. Just don’t do cold water swilling straight after drinking a hot brew, it may cause some sensitivity in your teeth.
7 - Balsamic vinegar. This is a very darkly coloured dressing and due to the deep pigmentation you may need to be aware of the effects on your teeth.
8 - Turmeric is one food that I wouldn’t cut out of my diet due to the amazing health benefits it may provide. I just tend to be extra careful when cooking or preparing turmeric and I always swill my mouth with water after consuming to stop any lingering effects it may have.
What can you do about tooth staining?
Although certain things can make you more prone to staining, the biggest factor by far is poor oral hygiene. Here are a few simple measures you can take to help keep your teeth sparkling white.
* If you have tooth staining because you consume a lot of a certain food or drink, try to limit it or look for alternatives. Could you substitute a normal cup of tea for a herbal tea or flavoured hot water?
* Eat plenty of crunchy fruit and veg, like apples, carrots and celery as they boost saliva and scrub your teeth, acting as natural stain removers.
* Rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking something that may stain your teeth.
* Use a straw (recyclable or paper straw) when drinking cold drinks like cola or juice that may stain your teeth.
* Chewing gum that contains xylitol can help to stimulate more saliva, which cleanses your mouth.
* Make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day, and as recommended by your dentist. * See your dentist or hygienist as frequently as they advise. They may recommend some products you can try to reduce staining. You can always browse our collections if you want to make a start on whitening your teeth.
Caring for your teeth is an important part of looking after your overall health.