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Proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups are significant steps in maintaining a bright smile. But in between those times, we eat, drink and be merry. However, just like there are certain foods you should avoid to maintain a healthy mouth and fresh breath, there are types of foods you should avoid to maintain those pearly whites. Just what kinds of foods? Here are seven foods that stain teeth and the preventive steps to keep your chompers glowing.
#1 Coffee and Tea
The number of Americans who drink coffee is at an all-time high. However, while this morning drink gives a pep in our step, its tannin chemical compound can cause havoc on our teeth. While it’s clear Americans have little intention of kicking the caffeine habit, there are still many ways to prevent tooth stains. For starters, you can minimize the drink’s contact with your teeth, drinking from a straw or with a cup lid.
Tea tannins are similar to coffee. However, if you enjoy your tea English style, you might be in luck. One recent study discovered that adding the casein protein in two percent milk to tea can reduce its extrinsic tooth staining power.
Like coffee and tea, both red and white wine have tannins, too. Plus, it’s highly acidic, which can etch away your enamel. Red wine also has the disadvantage of being dark in color, which deepens the staining power. But if you still like to unwind with some vino each evening, remember to keep that acidity at bay by drinking a glass of water after each glass of wine.
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#3 Dark Berries and Juices
Berries offer loads of healthy antioxidants. However, dark berries can stain your teeth. It’s so apparent that you can notice a purple coat on your teeth after eating blueberries. What do we mean by dark berries? Blackberries, raspberries and cranberries, for example, can penetrate the teeth’s pores.
While these fruits and their juices are still excellent for your health and you shouldn’t be afraid to eat them, wash the staining pigments (and seeds!) down with a rinse of water while you enjoy. It’s more than about dark-berry juices, too. While not dark, citrus juices like orange juice have tons of acidity, so be mindful about rinsing after.
#4 Tomatoes and Tomato Sauces
Tomatoes offer a beautiful red splash of color in a salad, but they are high in acids, which erodes enamel. And this goes double for concentrated tomato sauces. Luckily, all those crunchy dark greens and veggies on your salad can offer a protective layer. Before a big bowl of saucy spaghetti or indulging in pizza, eat a salad to prevent stains.
#5 Sodas, Energy and Sports Drinks
Soda beverages, as well as energy drinks and sports drinks, have been linked to enamel breakdown. With high levels of acidity (and especially sugars in sodas), it appears you’d be much better off grabbing a plain water bottle instead of reaching for something out of the vending machine.
Love Indian and Thai food? Well, unfortunately, that delicious curry dish is staining your teeth. Like many foods mentioned already, curry is made up of acidic foods (tomatoes, for example) that feature deeply saturated colors. Don’t worry! You can still enjoy a bowl of curry. Just choose light-colored or cream-based sauces and rinse your mouth after eating.
#7 Balsamic Vinegar and Soy Sauce
Balsamic vinegar and soy sauce are two dark-pigment condiments that can easily stain teeth. High in acidity, these sticky liquid sauces can break down the enamel, allowing stains to set. If you enjoy a balsamic vinaigrette dressing on a salad or soy sauce with some eggrolls, just make sure to pair it with cruciferous veggies to scrub the teeth.
It’s okay to enjoy these foods and drinks, so long as you’re mindful and take steps to minimize their effects. Here are some ways to prevent stains from setting and maintain your enamel so it can help fight stains, too.
- Prevent new stains from setting in the first place with a tooth stain eraser. GO SMILE tooth stain erasers are perfect for those on-the-go moments and last-minute meetings, too.
- Brush your teeth after eating or drinking with a whitening toothpaste.
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- Drink a glass of water, rinsing your teeth and mouth. If you can make it to a sink, do a light swish and dispense it down the drain.
- Use a straw for drinking dark liquids, bypassing your teeth almost entirely.
- Try a teeth whitening kit to brighten your teeth and lift stains. GO SMILE offers tons of kits to help you achieve a brighter smile in no time.