Being mindful of what you eat and drink is one of our five tips for a brighter smile because the foods and drinks you enjoy will eventually affect your teeth.
In fact, you can think of your teeth as a nice, white t-shirt. Beverly Hills based Cosmetic Dentist Kourosh Maddahi says “if it’s difficult to remove [the food] stains from clothing, it’s going to be difficult removing it from teeth”.
We eat and drink many things that can stain our teeth on a daily basis. Here are 5 of the worst offenders!
A lot of our favourite drinks stain your teeth. Fruit juices, soft drinks, tea, coffee and wine are all pretty bad for your dental health.
Fruit juices and soft drinks are full of acids and sugar, which means that they’ll erode the outer layer of your teeth, the enamel. Soft drinks, including energy drinks and sports drinks, are very acidic. For example, Coke has a pH level of 2.5 – battery acid has a pH level of 1.0 and water is at 7.0.
Dark juices like cranberry, grape, blueberry and tomato are bad for the same reasons, as their colours will stain your teeth while their sugars and acids erode your enamel.
Tea and coffee are also bad due to their acidity and colour, but at least they don’t contain any sugar – unless you add it yourself. Wine is bad too. While red wine is “worse” for staining because of its colour, white wine is said to be more acidic, so that’s not really a viable loophole.
Berries and fruit
Packed with important antioxidants and vitamins? Yes. Staining your teeth? Also yes. Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and pomegranates are said to be the worst offenders here due to their dark shades of blue or red.
Have you ever tried to get a blueberry stain out of a white t-shirt? Yeah, it’s almost impossible.
Anyone who has eaten beetroot can attest to two things: it’s delicious, and it’s staining properties are only rivalled by paint. As you can imagine, it has the same effect on your teeth as your t-shirt.
Lots of our favourite lollies, hard candy, popsicles and chewing gum are pretty bad for us in general – and they’re also bad for our teeth. If it can stain your tongue, it can stain your teeth too. As with the examples above, candy is bad because it is sugary or acidic, or both.
Sauces like pasta sauce, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and curry can be quite bad for your teeth because of their strong and dark colours. The darker the colour, the stronger the staining. Some sauces, like Neapolitan pasta sauce, can also be quite acidic, which you already know is bad because it erodes your teeth’s enamel.
What to do?
The most obvious and boring solution is to try to avoid these staining foods and drinks as much as possible. Yes, we know, it’s almost impossible, but we had to say it.
What most of our readers – and us too! – would struggle the most to avoid is tea and coffee, which is understandable. Thankfully, adding milk to your warm beverage of choice helps neutralise the acidity. This also makes the colour lighter, which is great!
Drinking with a straw is a good idea for staining drinks in general because this helps keep the liquid away from your teeth. Help avoid an environmental crisis by using a metal or paper straw while you’re at it.
Our best piece of advice applies to both drinks and foods: Rinse your mouth with water, and don’t brush directly after. Brushing your teeth directly after an acidic meal or drink will wear away your enamel because it has been softened by the acids.
Instead, you should rinse your mouth with water afterwards, and wait at least 30-60 minutes before brushing your teeth!
Worried about your teeth being discoloured or stained? Read our blog post on teeth whitening for more information.
You can discuss your dental health with one of our friendly and professional dentists today by booking an appointment online!