What Stains Your Teeth?

White teeth are a big asset to your social life and the first impression you make on clients and new contacts. White teeth make you more likely to smile, give you confidence, and yes, give you a more youthful appearance. But some foods stain your teeth. Do you have to give up those foods forever?

“The simple answer is ‘No’,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix dental office. “Once you know what causes stains, there are ways to deal with them.”

First of all, be aware of foods that stain. Tomatoes may not stain, but tomato sauce might. If a prepared food (canned, processed, or pre-prepared) has chemical additives that give it a better color, they may be the staining culprit. The two biggest tooth-stainers are called tannins and chromogens. If a food stains a white cotton cloth and the stain doesn’t wash out easily, it’s going to stain your teeth, too.

These foods and drinks are among those that stain your teeth:

  • Phoenix Dentist Apples
  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Candy with bright colors
  • Cherries
  • Coffee
  • Colas
  • Curries
  • Tea
  • Popsicles with bright colors
  • Pomegranates
  • Red wine
  • Soy sauce
  • Sports energy drinks (those high in acid and artificially colored)

According to WebMD, the foods that stain your teeth often have high acid content. Acid, when allowed to linger in the mouth, etches the surface of the tooth enamel and the stains then settle into the grooves.

“It’s hard for a toothbrush to remove stains that are in grooves or cracks in the tooth enamel,” says Dr. Ford. “So it’s good to know what foods and drinks have high acid content—fruit juices, colas and sports drinks are some,” she continues.

What’s the best line of defense if you don’t want to give up your favorites? WebMD suggests rinsing your mouth out with plain water soon after drinking or eating acid food.  Acids will continue to etch teeth for about half an hour after you have swallowed them, so rinsing after eating and drinking is essential. You can also brush your teeth after eating, and if you are in a place that brushing isn’t possible, you can chew some sugar-free gum.

“You don’t have to give up your favorite foods and drinks, “says Dr. Ford, “and a few preventive steps will let you keep that bright smile longer.”

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