Foods that Stain Teeth vs. Foods that Brighten Teeth

Stain Teeth vs Brighten Teeth

Every day of the year, we all make choices about the foods we eat and how we take care of our teeth. But during the fall and winter holidays, some of these choices make a bigger oral health impact than at other times of the year. Many people do not realize that what they eat can stain teeth. Even fewer know that there are actually some foods that naturally brighten teeth. The best advice for the holiday season is to make healthy choices from a balance of these groups.

If your teeth are yellowing or stained, your Carolina Dental Arts dentist can help you achieve a whiter and brighter smile. A more radiant smile starts with regular check-ups for professional teeth cleaning. To brighten teeth even more, you can request teeth whitening service. Talk about your options with your dentist at your next visit in our Raleigh, Durham or Goldsboro offices.

Why Some Foods Stain Teeth

What causes foods to stain teeth? These stains start with your tooth structure and composition. Teeth are protected by a hard coating called enamel. But enamel is quite porous, making it possible for staining agents from foods to seep beyond this barrier.

Intensely Colored Foods

An easy way to know which foods stain teeth more than others is to first look at the food’s color. The more intense the food’s color throughout, the more likely it is to affect the color of your teeth. Specific food compounds in plants, known as tannins, bind to proteins and also cause the color in these foods to bind to your tooth enamel.

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The foods that stain teeth also tend to stain other surfaces. For example, red wine proves a nightmare when spilled on white upholstery, light-colored carpet, clothing and other soft materials. Red wine also stains teeth.

Acidic Foods

Some foods also stain teeth more easily because they are highly acidic. Acids in some of the foods and beverages we consume weaken surface enamel. Weakened enamel is easier for staining agents to penetrate than healthier enamel.

Heated Foods

Temperature variations in cooked foods can also prove damaging to your smile’s brightness. They make it easier for stains to penetrate the enamel.

What to Avoid: Foods that Stain Teeth

Here is a quick list of the foods and beverages most likely to stain teeth:

  • Sodas
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Fruit juices
  • Sports drinks
  • Popsicles
  • Slushies
  • Colored candies and sweets
  • Soy sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Pickles
  • Berries
  • Tomato sauce
  • Curry
  • Beets

You do not need to avoid these foods, altogether, because they stain teeth. Instead, just eat them in moderation. Also follow the tips below to make your favorite foods and drinks less likely to stain teeth and dim your smile.

Tips to Brighten Teeth and Keep them Bright

To counteract the foods that stain teeth and even help brighten teeth for a more vibrant smile, follow these tips:

  • Use a straw in all of your beverages to avoid contact between dyes, acids and colors with your teeth
  • Brush your teeth 30 minutes after consuming staining foods or drinks
  • Use whitening toothpaste to fight stains daily
  • Rinse your mouth with water when you are unable to brush your teeth after eating
  • Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and check-ups
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Foods that Brighten Teeth

There are actually some foods that brighten teeth, making your smile appear healthier through natural whitening. Consider eating more of these and less of the choices more likely to stain teeth.

Foods that naturally brighten teeth include:

  • Cheese
  • Apples
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries

For a more effective way to brighten teeth and counteract the effects of foods that stain teeth, visit your Carolina Dental Arts dentist at least twice yearly. Schedule your next visit today.

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