Determined to keep those pearly whites their whitest?
You already know how important it is to brush and floss daily, to see a dentist periodically and to avoid smoking or chewing tobacco. You should also be mindful of certain foods and beverages that stain teeth.
As you might imagine, intensely colored foods and beverages tend to be the biggest offenders. If you’re worried about spilling on your white tablecloth, you can be sure it’s got the potential to stain teeth. The more intense the color, the more potential there is for staining.
The color in these foods and beverages comes from chromogens, intensely pigmented molecules with an unfortunate penchant for latching on to dental enamel. But the presence of chromogens isn’t the only thing that determines the staining potential of foods and beverages.
Acidity is another factor. Acidic foods and beverages -- including some that are not brightly colored -- promote staining by eroding the dental enamel, temporarily softening teeth and making it easier for chromogens to latch on. And finally, a family of food compounds known as tannins promotes staining by further boosting chromogens’ ability to attach to enamel.
The Top Teeth-Staining Foods and Beverages
Ironically, many of the foods and beverages that stain teeth are loaded with antioxidants, which, of course, have key health benefits.
“Moderation and a balanced diet are key,” saysDr Cherukuri from her Chino, California dental practice.
In addition, consider taking steps to minimize the contact between your teeth and stain-promoting substances. Using a straw, swallowing promptly and rinsing immediately after eating are effective, adds Dr. Cherukuri.