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What Foods Can Stain and Discolor Teeth
Rule to Remember
There's a simple way to know what foods dull your smile. Foods that can stain your clothes or your carpets can also stain your teeth.
You probably love to start your day with a cup of tea or coffee. But this morning ritual can impact your smile. It's common knowledge that beverages like tea, coffee and cola can discolor teeth. But a lot of foods and drinks can actually cause your teeth to turn yellow. Many of these foods are good for you, so cutting them out completely may not be a good idea. There are a few simple things you can do to lessen the discoloring of your teeth.
After you drink tea, coffee or cola swish water around in your mouth to remove some of the staining substances. Even better, brush your teeth immediately afterward, if possible. Carry travel size toothpaste and a toothbrush with you. Keep a toothbrush and tube of toothpaste in your desk at work. Drink colas through a straw. This reduces contact with the front teeth.
The color in these foods and beverages comes from chromogens, intensely pigmented molecules with an unfortunate penchant for latching on to dental enamel.
List of Foods That Discolor Teeth
This is a list of the foods that can stain your teeth. Remember if food can stain your clothes or your carpet they'll also stain your teeth.
- Tea - black tea contains the most stain causing substances. Add cream or milk to decrease the staining effect
- Coffee - add cream or milk to decrease the staining effect
- Wine - red and white
- Colas - clear sodas like Mountain Dew, Sprite and 7 Up don't stain
- Berries and berry juices including blueberries, cherries, cranberries and grapes
- Sauces, like soy sauce and tomato sauce
- Treats, like hard candies, that color your tongue will also stain your teeth
- Curry - if you love Indian food beware. Curry can turn your teeth yellow
- Sports drinks
- Popsicles and slushies
Foods that Help Whiten Teeth
While many foods will stain teeth, there are a few that can help whiten them. Apples, pears, carrots, lettuce and celery create lots of saliva. Saliva helps wash away food debris on teeth. Sugarless gum also creates a lot of saliva.
If you teeth have deep stains, your dentist or tooth-whitening kits will be the best option for whitening. Tooth-whitening kits contain a bleach that can remove deep stains and lighten tooth color. Tooth-whitening strips, whitening toothpastes and whitening rinses are good for superficial stains.
Professional tooth whitening available at dentists' offices cost approximately $200 to $400. Tooth whitening is considered to be safe but the bleaching process can make your teeth extra absorbent. It's best to avoid staining foods immediately after whitening.