Chances are you have heard the rumors that some foods are bad for your teeth. Many people wish they could have a brighter and more luminous smile, but they are actually hindered by their diet. Some foods contain ingredients that lead to permanent teeth stains when eaten often.
Which foods should you avoid if you want whiter teeth? Here is a crash course in the top ingredients that create a stained smile:
Coffee and Tea
For many people, the morning cannot start without a hot cup of coffee or a steaming mug of tea. Unfortunately, both of these tasty beverages contain tannins that can do some serious damage to your smile. The acid in those tannins is what contributes to discoloration on the surface of the teeth. While coffee tends to stain teeth yellow, tea can stain them several colors – gray stains from green tea and yellow from black tea.
Not only that, but it causes damage long after you are done drinking it. Coffee can change the pH of the mouth, which can increase the negative effects from anything else acidic that you consume afterward.
If you really cannot bear to say goodbye to these two drinks, there is something you can do. The best thing to do is to add a heavy splash of milk. According to new research, milk can help prevent some of the staining.
There is nothing wrong with sipping a glass of red wine with a fine dinner. However, it contains the same tannins as coffee and tea. Prolonged exposure to red wines can turn the teeth gray. It is one of the most common causes of tooth staining.
Cola and Dark Sodas
The sugar and acids that dark sodas and colas contain can wreak havoc on your mouth. These beverages are packed with the sugar that bacteria thrive on, allowing them to release acids that promote tooth decay and staining. While anything sugary has the propensity to stain teeth, dark soda is particularly harmful. The little bubbles in your soda are also acidic and lead to staining, even if you drink sugar-free sodas.
Dark fruit juices like those from blueberries, blackberries and pomegranates are well-known for staining teeth. They are heavily pigmented and can stain anything from teeth to your kitchen counters. Be especially careful with foods that contain these juices.
Citrus and Other Acidic Foods
The last category of foods that will almost certainly stain your teeth is citrus and other acidic products. These can include oranges, grapefruits and even tomatoes. The reason these are so dangerous is because the acid eats away at your enamel, leaving behind the yellow color of the dentin beneath.
Choosing a Dentist
Now that you know which foods should be avoided for a pearly white smile, you need to know where to turn to correct any damage that has already been done. Choose the right dentist for the best results. A good dentist should come with plenty of recommendations from friends and family members. If you can’t find a dentist with plenty of personal referrals, check out their online reviews. You want someone who is going to be friendly, attentive and knowledgeable about your smile.
From here, you need to be concerned with more practical matters. If you have dental insurance, you need to go to an office that accepts it. Correcting dental issues and even scheduling preventative maintenance can be quite costly but insurance helps offset that expense. You also need to make sure that the dentist you choose offers the services you need. In this case, you might want someone who specializes in cosmetic dentistry and teeth whitening.
Don’t have a dental insurance plan? Consider our dental insurance alternative – dental savings plans – and receive significant discounts on dental care (routine, major work and even cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening) when visiting participating dentists near you.
Schedule Regular Dentist Visits
If you are really concerned about stained teeth, one of the best things you can do is set up regular dental visits. Most people should plan to visit the dentist at least twice per year for preventative maintenance and to get on top of stains early. There are many other benefits of regular dental visits – they give you a window of opportunity to catch issues early on before they spiral out of control.