If you want to keep your teeth bright and white, but don’t want to cut out the foods and beverages that are most likely to stain your teeth, we have three simple tips you can follow.
So what foods and beverages are most likely to stain your teeth? The ones that are most intensely colored are the top culprits. The color comes from intensely pigmented molecules called chromogens, which have the unfortunate habit of sticking to the enamel on your teeth.
Chromogens combine with the acid in certain foods and beverages to deliver a double dose of trouble to your tooth enamel. The acid softens your tooth’s enamel, making it easier for the chromogens to stain your teeth. The chromogens also can get a boost to their staining power from a food compound called tannin.
Foods and beverages that are the biggest teeth-staining culprits are wine (red and white), black tea, colas, sports drinks, deeply colored sauces (tomato sauce, curry sauce, soy sauce), berries and hard candy.
To minimize the impact of these foods and beverages on your teeth then follow these three simple steps:
Consider using a straw. By sipping your beverage through a straw you will help keep teeth-staining beverages away from your teeth especially your front teeth. You probably won’t want to use a straw for coffee or wine, but you should definitely consider using a straw for juices, cola, and iced tea.
Be sure to swallow promptly. Protect your teeth from stains by promptly swallowing stain-causing foods and beverages (especially beverages). Of course you want to thoroughly chew your food and savor the flavors, but be mindful of the teeth-staining power of what you have in your mouth.
Be a water swisher. It’s may not always convenient for you to brush your teeth after eating or drinking. Even when it is, it might be better not to: dental enamel is highly vulnerable to abrasion from tooth brushing for up to 30 minutes after the consumption of an acidic food or beverage. So it’s safer simply to swish with water and brush later, once the enamel has had a chance to re-harden. Another way to remove stain-causing substances without brushing is to chew sugarless gum after eating or drinking.
And don’t forget the importance of brushing and flossing daily and be sure to see a dentist periodically and to avoid smoking or chewing tobacco. These long-term strategies, combined with the simple tips we’ve mentioned, should keep you smiling for years to come.
Sources: WebMD and Personal Care Dentistry