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Why Do Certain Foods Stain Teeth?

Older Couple Drinking Wine | Dr. WolnikHave you ever noticed that when you drink a glass of red wine, your teeth turn a lovely shade of light red? As unpleasant as temporary teeth-staining can be, it’s usually not something to be too concerned about. However, when repeated staining is combined with poor dental hygiene, these temporary stains could become permanent. Learn which foods are more likely to stain teeth and what to do to prevent long-term discoloration.

Common Foods that Stain Teeth

  • Wine – Red wine contains chromogen, an intense color compound, which when combined with tannins, or molecules with strong bonding properties, can be a recipe for some seriously stained teeth. Surprisingly, red wine isn’t the only tooth-staining culprit. Because wine has such a high acidity level, it actually etches into the enamel of your teeth with every sip, no matter if it’s white or red.
  • Coffee – The chromogen in coffee is rich, but because it lacks tannins, coffee may not be as potent as tea.
  • Tea – Tea, especially black tea, contains high levels of tannins, which bond the brownish color of tea to the surface of the teeth.
  • Soda – Soda contains high levels of chromogen and acid, which sets your teeth up to be permanently stained.
  • Dark Red Foods – The rich colors in berries, tomato sauces, and other dark, colorful, foods can cause temporary staining of teeth.
  • Colored Sweets – Sweets often contain bright food coloring which can temporarily change the color of your teeth, especially if there is a layer of bacteria on the teeth for the pigment to latch onto.

How to Prevent Tooth Staining

  • Sip through a straw – When you drink stain-causing beverages with a straw, it will help to direct the liquid away from your visible front teeth.
  • Snack on natural tooth-scrubbers – Foods like apples, carrots, celery, and other light colored fruits and veggies help to naturally scrub stain-causing debris from the surface of your teeth.
  • Avoid brushing immediately after consuming acidic beverages – Instead, swish with water because acidic drinks temporarily soften the enamel. Sometimes, brushing this impaired enamel can do more harm than good. Your teeth should be safe to brush about a half hour after consuming an acidic drink.
  • Brush and floss regularly! – The best way to prevent tooth stains is to take good care of your teeth each and every day. You should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes and floss at least once a day for optimum oral health.

Contact Dr. Wolnik

To learn more about foods that stain teeth, or to set up an appointment for professional teeth whitening, contact our office today!

6363 York Rd, Ste 202
Parma Heights, OH 44130

Phone: (440) 888-5055


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