Brushing your teeth twice daily and seeing your dentist for a professional clean are two of the best ways to maintain a bright, healthy smile. However, no matter how clean and free of plaque your teeth may be, there is one thing that can prevent your teeth from being the brightest they can be – and that is food and drinks that stain your teeth.
How do foods and drinks stain your teeth?
Foods and drinks that contain coloured compounds called chromogens, have the ability to stain your teeth. Another substance called tannin can increase the staining potential of chromogens, especially when both are present in the same drink or food. For example, black tea or coffee. If acids are also present, the staining or discolouration is further enhanced because acids weaken your tooth enamel, making your teeth easier to stain.
The most common teeth-staining foods and drinks
- Black tea and coffee
- Red wine
- Soft drinks and sports drinks
- Dark coloured fruit juices and drinks
- Dark coloured berries
- Tomato-based pasta sauce
- Curries containing tumeric
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Coloured candy
Should all I avoid consuming all foods and drinks that stain or discolour my teeth?
Certainly not. If a food or drink is naturally dark in colour, especially purple and red, they probably contain high levels of antioxidants which provide numerous health benefits. Just eat them in moderation and rinse your mouth with water afterwards to avoid their staining effect. On the other hand, food or drinks that are sweetened and artificially coloured are best avoided altogether since they also contribute to tooth decay.
What can I do to avoid tooth stains and discolouration?
- Consume foods and drinks that stain or discolour teeth in moderation.
- Rinse your mouth with water after consuming teeth-staining foods and drinks.
- Balance off meals with foods high in fibre which can increase saliva and have a natural cleansing effect. For example, apples and celery.
- Try using a straw when drinking teeth-staining beverages to bypass your teeth.
- Chew Xylitol gum after eating for a saliva-boosting cleansing effect.
- Brush and floss twice daily.
- Attend regular checkups and cleans with your dentist.