With the recent exciting news that two European men have created a colorless coffee, there is some relief among java lovers who worry about the brew darkening their teeth. Alas, it doesn’t look like CLRCFF is available in the United States yet, so we’ll have to keep being diligent about watching our foods and drinks and maintaining our pearly whites.
These are the six worst offenders that stain teeth. And regular coffee, is, unfortunately, one of the worst.
- Coffee (and tea and soda). Your tooth enamel may look smooth to the naked eye, but in reality it contains many cracks and ridges. Dark colored drinks contain pigments that can become embedded in those pits and cause permanent, yellowing stains on the teeth.
- Red wine. There are strong pigments in red wine, called chromogens, are the culprit for red wine. Like coffee, tea and soda, red wine is also acidic and promotes enamel erosion, which allows the chromogens to soak in. The tannins in red wine also bind to the teeth and encourage the chromogens to latch on. Note: white wine is actually more acidic than red wine and will make your teeth even more likely to absorb stains.
- Cherries, cranberries, blueberries and strawberries … they are all very good for you, but they all contain chromogens.
- Tomato sauce. This is also very acidic and highly saturated with color.
- Balsamic vinegar. The dark color and high acidity make for staining and discoloration.
- This Indian spice has deep pigmentation, which can yellow teeth over time.
So, other than giving up your favorite foods and drinks, what can you do to keep staining at a minimum?
- Eat plenty of dark green vegetables, preferably before eating a teeth-staining food. Veggies such as broccoli, kale, and spinach create a protective film over the teeth and can help discourage staining. Fruits such as apples and pears can also prevent stains.
- Drink plenty of water and rinse your mouth out within a half hour of eating.
- Drink milk and eat cheese. These are calcium-rich and can strengthen teeth and neutralize acid.
- Brush and floss before you eat or drink. Stains like to cling to a film of plaque on your teeth.
- Brush approximately 30 minutes to an hour after eating or drinking. If you brush too soon after an acidic drink or meal, you can damage the enamel on the teeth.