Everyone wants white teeth, but unfortunately some of our favorite foods and beverages have a different agenda in mind. It isn’t just natural and artificial dyes that present a problem; foods that are highly acidic promote staining by wearing down the enamel surface of the teeth, which allows color-containing components of foods called chromogens to attach to the teeth. Check out these top 5 culprits:
1. Tea – More than coffee, more than wine, tea has serious staining potential. Black tea contains a high amount of tannins, food compounds that increase the ability of chromogens to attach to dental enamel.White or green teas don’t stain as much as black tea, but they still have staining potential.
2. Wine – Red wine is acidic and contains tannins and chromogens, but even white wine can stain teeth. In studies, white wine drinking has been shown to increase the staining potential of other things, like tea, on teeth.
3. Coffee- Coffee could be chosen as the number one teeth stainer, but that’s based on the fact that people overall drink more coffee than tea or wine. Coffee actually is not quite as threatening to white teeth as tea because, while it has plenty of tannins, it has less chromogens. Still, the several-cups-a-day habit that many people have can build up stains.
4. Cola – Diet or not, cola contains chromogens, and it is highly acidic. All carbonated beverages have an acid content that can promote staining by other foods and beverages, so even light-colored sodas that may not actually cause stains promote staining in general.
5. Berries – Natural, unsweetened foods are good for you in many ways, but unfortunately, many highly colored berries and fruits are big teeth stainers. These include blueberries, cranberries, cherries, red grapes and pomegranates. Likewise, juices, jams or pies made with these fruits carry the staining potential.
You can combat staining by beverages by drinking through a straw when possible or convenient, and by rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking stain-causing foods. Chewing sugar-free gum can also help to wash away food particles by promoting saliva production. Here’s to a white, happy smile!