Teeth Staining Foods
Do you want to consume a diet that avoids staining your teeth? It isn’t going to be easy. Maybe if you drink only distilled water with no minerals in it and eat only unseasoned white rice boiled in the same water…but what fun would that be?
The problem with teeth staining is that it has a number of causes. If it were only one thing—acids, let’s say, or tannins, or food colourings—it would be simple to avoid those things, but it isn’t quite that simple. There’s a whole range of teeth staining foods that can cause your teeth to lose their pristine whiteness.
Everyone knows that smokers have stained teeth. Upon examination, a lot of the things that “everyone” knows turn out not to be true, but that is not so in this case. If you smoke, you will stain your teeth—and your breath will smell, so will your hair and so will your clothes…. There are many good reasons for smokers to give up their habit—and we haven’t even mentioned the effects on your health yet. But just giving up smoking won’t get rid of all the things that threaten the whiteness of your teeth.
It’s generally well known by now that the tannins in red wine discolour teeth. So should you switch to white wine? Well…no. Moving from red wine to white wine won’t keep your teeth white, because white wine contains acids that remove some of the protective enamel on your teeth, allowing other colouring agents to make their mark. Switch to beer? Or whiskey, or vodka, or…? Sorry, but that won’t help. Any alcoholic drink contains acids and is going to have a similar effect.
Soft drinks, then?
Nope. Most soft drinks contain far too much sugar, and many of them contain acids (as well as sugars) from the fruit extracts they are made with. So now you’ve got a double attack on your teeth: one from the acid and one from the sugar. We should avoid soft drinks like the plague; as well as the negative factors we just listed, they can do seriously bad things to blood sugar levels.
Tea and coffee
We mentioned tannins when we talked about red wine. Tea, of course, is also full of the stuff, but it isn’t only tannin in tea that makes the teeth yellow; any dark drink (and that includes coffee and hot chocolate) achieves that darkness because of the pigments in it, and those pigments, over time, will discolour your teeth. And fruit teas are no better (and can be even worse). Fruit teas have tannins, fruits, and pigments. (And coffee, as well as having pigments, is actually as loaded with tannins as tea is.)
What about the five a day?
Five daily portions of fruit and/or vegetables was not originally a recommendation made by the medical profession. It was actually a marketing slogan dreamed up by a California governor concerned about fruit growers in his state needing to increase sales. There isn’t much doubt that fruit and vegetables are good for you, and juicy berries can certainly raise a person’s mood, but they won’t do anything for your teeth—they’re too full of acids, pigments, and sugars.
Good grief! Is that all?
No, it isn’t all. There are very few things you can eat and very few things you can drink that won’t cause your teeth to discolour to some extent. Anything that’s acidic, anything with a tendency to cling to the teeth, and anything that is brightly coloured is likely to leave its mark. Indian food…pasta sauces…Chinese food… Just ask yourself: how would you feel if you spilled soy sauce down the front of your white T-shirt? And that’s a very good rule to keep in mind—if you wouldn’t like the effect it has when dropped on your clothes, you probably won’t care for what it does to your teeth. Cola, ketchup, pickles, brown sauce—want them on your clothes? No? You don’t want them on your teeth either then.
So what should you eat for white teeth?
If you go for Teeth Staining Foods fruits that are high in fibre, like apples and pears, you can’t avoid the acid and sugar, but the fibre can have a scrubbing effect that actually removes some of the staining. You’ll need to clean your teeth to get rid of the acid/sugar combination, but don’t do it immediately afterwards. The acids will bite into the enamel, and brushing then will further weaken the teeth. The best way to arrange teeth-cleaning is as follows:
- In the morning, before breakfast
- In the evening, some hours after eating dinner
Cheese has the effect of raising the pH level in your mouth, which, as well as possibly reducing the number of cavities, also helps avoid the enamel removal on which discolouration of teeth depends. The protein in nuts can also help make your teeth stronger.
All in all, cheese and nuts aren’t the best and most varied diet. So perhaps you should do what we do: eat and drink (both within reason) what you want to, and use an annual application of Crest Whitestrips to keep your teeth looking good.