Most of us dream of pearly, white teeth. Unfortunately, we may be causing the opposite to become reality because of what we eat. There are three ways what we eat can damage our teeth.
- First, tooth enamel is porous and it can stain, particularly if food is brightly colored, because color from chromogens sticks to the dental enamel. Tannins, a group of food compounds found in certain foods and drinks, boost the chromogen’s ability to stick to the dental enamel.
- Second, temperature change due to hot or cold food can cause teeth to expand or contract and stains can penetrate more easily.
- Third, food and drink containing acid wears away at the enamel and makes teeth softer for a while, which also makes them more prone to staining.
There are certain foods you can avoid to give you the best chance of avoiding staining. Here are 10 to watch out for:
#1 Red Wine
If you can’t resist a glass of Merlot, or 4, rinse your mouth after you have indulged. The deep red color will not only stain your carpet, but your teeth too!
Beets have that lovely deep red color, which unfortunately sticks on teeth. Brush your teeth as soon as possible after eating them, particularly if they are in juice form.
Tea and coffee contains tannins, which boost the ability of chromogens (color) to stick to your teeth. Add milk to coffee to help; some people think that drinking green or herbal tea is a better option.
#4 Tomato Sauce
Stains can occur because of the bright coloring and acidic content in bolognese and other tomato-based sauces. Try an alfredo sauce instead. Also, vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli can help as they form a protective barrier over your teeth.
Don’t give up on berries, because they offer antioxidants and health benefits, but do eat them in moderation. Snack on other fruits instead; apples are good for your teeth, as are white grapes and bananas.
#6 Balsamic Vinegar
This is both dark-colored and acidic. Rice vinegar is a light-colored alternative, and eating lettuce can help to protect your teeth by forming a barrier over them.
#7 Hard Candies
Hard candies have too much sugar! Try sugarless gum instead; it has the added benefit of helping to remove bacteria.
Yellow and red colorings in curries can stain teeth over time, so mix in some fruit and vegetables when you have a spicy meal; cauliflower, celery, carrots, and apples are all good.
Acid in pickles can erode the enamel on your teeth and cause staining. When eating them, be sure to rinse afterwards!
Popsicles often have dyes which can stain the teeth. Opt for light colored treats like lemon flavor, instead of dark flavors.
Whenever you eat or drink something that would stain a cup, your tongue, a white shirt, or your fingers, bear in mind that it can also stain your teeth! You can help yourself by drinking water afterwards, and generally drinking water instead of hot or sugary drinks. Drinking milk can help to neutralize acid and is good for your teeth. Lastly, remember to go for regular dental check-ups and brush and floss your teeth often.