When we stop to think, it is amazing to realize that we consume so many foods that stain our teeth.
So, how about a dental checkup today?
No need to fix an appointment except with yourself.
Take five minutes – pick up a mirror and look into your mouth. Examine your teeth. Looking good? Great!
I don’t want to talk about brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist—which you are already aware of.
Instead, I want to share information about foods that stain our teeth. And you’ll be surprised at some of these, as they’re items we consume on a daily basis. Well, most of us. Dental stains, over time, build up to tartar.
Thing is, even when you look after your teeth carefully, bacteria still finds its way into your mouth. And when they mix with food, they create a sticky coating on your teeth called dental plaque, which can very well spread over and under your gums and even sticks to your fillings. Plaque is basically bacteria that’s come to stay with the sole intention of destroying your tooth enamel and create painful cavities. And then, before you know it, you’re sitting in a crowded dentist’s clinic waiting to hear the verdict on your tooth. Tartar can lead to cavities and tooth decay. If tartar stays on your teeth it damages the teeth and gums, leading to receding gums and gum disease and can only be removed in a dentist’s office.
What can you do? Ensure that you remove plaque regularly before it builds into harder tartar and prevent tooth decay or gum disease. Tartar can also lead to other health issues and raises the risk of heart disease. So, at least once in six months, visit your dentist so that any problems can be dealt with at the starting stage.
Now, let’s look at the list of common foods that stain our teeth.
This is not an exhaustive list—I’ve only picked the most common culprits.
Tea and Coffee
The cup that cheers definitely comes with a lot of health benefits, but is also a teeth stainer. Love your black tea? Worse. In fact, it stains your teeth even more than coffee. What about herbal tea with milk? They join hands to destroy tooth enamel and stain it.
What to do? No, no need to stop drinking tea or coffee. What you must do is make sure you rinse your mouth after you enjoy your cuppa. This minimizes the chances of stains.
That oh-so-convenient and tasty accompaniment to so many dishes! Yes, sauces are big teeth-staining culprits. Especially soy sauce, tomato sauce and other curry sauces. Sure, you can try lighter cream sauces, but no need to give up on sauces. Enjoy them, but rinse your mouth after you eat.
Didn’t’ see that coming, eh? These high energy (and highly expensive) sports drinks are acidic and known for their prowess in eroding tooth enamel. When that happens, stains find it easy to stick. For those who work out regularly (yay!) try and limit drinking these. Water is good, both for your overall health and teeth. If you have to use them, rinse your mouth afterwards.
A glass of wine is perhaps the perfect way to relax and unwind after a hectic day. Why, there are studies that endorse the health benefits of wine. However, it is not just your table cloth that wine can stain—it also stains your teeth. Red wine, in particular, is acidic and contains tannins and chromogens that result in discolored teeth. And just in case you were about to ask about white wine—that’s worse, even if it defies logic. So—again—rinse your mouth after you finish enjoying that wine.
So good for health and rich in antioxidants; but blueberries, blackberries, cherries, pomegranates—and just about any vibrantly colored fruit can generously stain your teeth. This goes for their juices, too. What to do? Enjoy but never forget to brush and floss well!
Fizzy, carbonated drinks
The fizzies, which officially include colas and sodas are perhaps among the biggest culprits when it comes to staining teeth because of their high acidity level. In fact, so high, that they can dissolve your teeth. The flavored additives in these drinks add insult to the injury. So, next time you say cheers, do pledge to rinse your mouth to minimize the damage. (By the way, colas are excellent cleaners for clogged drains. And yes, there’s a hidden message there!)
Festival season is on, full swing, and celebrations are predominantly with sweets. It is no secret that they not only cause cavities but also stain your teeth with an unbecoming color thanks to the coloring agents in them. So long as you don’t eat them too often, you should be okay. But if you’ve got a sweet tooth—you know what to do! Rinse. Repeat.
Can you avoid staining your teeth?
I’d say yes if you can avoid consuming the foods I’ve listed above. But obviously you shouldn’t—as at least three out of those seven are important for our overall health. So continue to eat, drink and be merry, but consider adding more variety to your diet in the form of apples, melons, cauliflower, etc. Make it a point to rinse after every meal or snack. Some extra precautions to take are:
- If comfortable, use a straw to drink—this can protect your front teeth from staining.
- When you enjoy a beverage, don’t slosh it around in your mouth for longer than necessary.
- Every time you eat something that is likely to stain your teeth, rinse your mouth with water. And only then brush. This is because brushing your teeth within an hour of eating or drinking can cause more harm than good. So wash and then brush, in that order.
- Chew on sugar-free gum after you’ve eaten, to get rid of food lodged between and on teeth. That also helps clean the tooth surface.
Stay healthy! And oh,don’t forget about brushing and flossing!
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