Pigmented deposits on a tooth, or teeth, surface are called dental stains. Certain foods and beverages will certainly stain your teeth, these include soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, red wine, coffee, tea, blueberries, grape and cranberry juices. Dark colored drinks like colas (Pepsi, Coke, and even the diet versions) can also leave stains on your teeth. For a list of common drinks and foodstuffs that cause discoloration and staining of the teeth keep reading...
Extrinsic and Intrinsic Teeth Staining
Teeth discoloration or stains may be caused by either extrinsic (external) or intrinsic (internal) staining. External staining are stains on the outer surface of a tooth or teeth caused by:
- Tobacco products
- Every day wear and tear
- Dark colored food and beverages (See list below)
- Sugary foods and drinks, including sports drinks
External stains can often be controlled with the use of mildly abrasive toothpaste containing baking soda, and by biannual visits to a dentist for teeth cleaning. Dentists typically recommend staying away from any foods that can stain your teeth for three days after a bleaching procedure.
Internal tooth discolorations are often caused by:
- Medication use
- Trauma to the tooth or teeth
- Fluoride or mineralization in water
Internal stains cannot be dealt with through brushing or dental cleanings. A porcelain veneer(s) is often placed over the tooth or teeth by a dentist.
Drinks and Food That Cause Discoloration and/or Staining of Teeth
- Balsamic Vinegar - The vinegar's richness and dark color makes it a tooth stainer.
- Berries - In particular blueberries, pomegranates, blackberries, cherries, cranberries, grapes, and other colored fruits.
- Beets - Particularly potent in juice form, in which they're the most concentrated.
- Chocolate - Try to skip dark colored chocolates and candy.
- Nuts - Black walnuts in particular will stain teeth.
- Popsicles and Slushies - The food coloring they contain will easily stain your teeth.
- Sauces. Including soy sauce, curry sauce, tomato sauce, and other deeply colored sauces.
- Sweets - Sweets often contain teeth staining coloring agents.
- Tomato Sauce and Ketchup - Tomato based sauces stain your teeth due to their bright red color and high levels of acidity in tomatoes.
- Black Coffee - Try adding a dash of milk to your coffee which will also provide you with calcium and vitamin D, both of which help keep teeth healthy - (Get Rid of Coffee Stains on Teeth)
- Cola - Most common among people who sip cola beverages all day long.
- Fruit juices - Drinks such as cranberry juice are known to yellow teeth.
- Sports drinks - Highly acidic sports drinks can soften tooth enamel which makes teeth open to staining
- Tea - Black tea contains stain promoting tannins. Avoid dark colored teas, like English Breakfast and Earl Grey, opt for green, white, and herbal teas.
- Wine - In particular red wines are notorious for staining teeth.
- Cigarettes and Chewing Tobacco - Nicotine and additives cause yellow and brown residue on the teeth that is very difficult to clean. Smoking and chewing tobacco stains can sometimes be removed with baking soda and salt solutions.
Tips for Removing Stains from Teeth
- One way to remove stain causing substances without brushing is to chew sugarless gum after eating or drinking.
- Limit the use of whitening toothpastes to twice a week at the most as they can be abrasive.
- Swishing and sipping water after every couple of bites or drinks helps decrease the chance of staining.
- Eat foods that clean your teeth and act as natural teeth whiteners. These include; apples, spinach, broccoli, celery, and strawberries. Cheese, particularly cheddar cheese, counteracts acids in foods, cleaning your teeth and restoring the pH balance in your mouth. While they aren't as good as using your brush and flossing, these foods can help maintain your radiant smile.
- Wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after eating acidic or staining foods. This gives softened enamel a chance to toughen up, so it's less vulnerable to abrasion.
- Using products containing hydrogen peroxide too often can damage tooth enamel, which can make teeth look a gray color.
Home Teeth Whitening Options - A number of teeth whitening methods to use at home to get your teeth looking whiter and healthier.
Tooth Discoloration is Cosmetic
If you are unhappy or concerned about the unusually dark or yellowish color of your teeth, talk to your dentist. He or she will be able to help you figure out what may be causing the discoloration and suggest ways to improve the color of your teeth. Any change in a child's normal tooth color should be evaluated by a dentist. As teeth whitening products are not all the same, always ask your dentist about the safest way to whiten your teeth to avoid future problems.