What makes a perfect smile? Well, teeth are the most important part of your smile. White and shiny teeth can make your smile a perfect smile. Stains can make your teeth become discolored on the surface or by changes inside the tooth. These spots can vary in color from yellowish-brown to black-brown. Different types of tooth discoloration can be:
- Extrinsic: This kind of stain occurs when the outer layer of the tooth, also called the enamel is stained. Different foods or drinks such as coffee, wine, cola, etc. can cause tooth stain. In addition, smoking can also cause extrinsic stains.
- Intrinsic: When the inner structure of the tooth, also called the dentin, darkens or gets a yellow tint, intrinsic stains occur. This type of stain generally occur when you had too much exposure to fluoride during early childhood, used tetracycline antibiotics when you were 8 years old or younger, had trauma that affected a tooth when you were a young child, had trauma in a permanent tooth resulted in internal bleeding that discolored the tooth, or you were born with a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta, which resulted into gray, amber or purple discolorations.
- Age-related: Age-related teeth stains can be a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Over time, dentin naturally starts turning yellow. As you get older, the enamel covering the teeth starts eradicating, resulting in exposing the dentin. Moreover, serious injuries can also discolor a tooth, especially when the soft tissue has been damaged.
Proper oral hygiene is essential to maintain a bright smile. Apart from brushing your teeth, it is also important to keep a watch over what you eat and drink. Certain chemical compounds known as chromogens give strong color to various foods and drinks and these can stain your teeth. Additionally, a substance called tannin found in foods and drinks can also stain your teeth. Moreover, acids can also wear down your teeth. Below mentioned are some of the foods and beverages that can cause teeth staining or discoloration:
Red wine is amongst the most common causes of tooth staining. Red wine got its color because of anthocyanins, the red pigment in grapes. Tannins are also present in red wine, which gives it a delicious taste. Strong pigments in red wine, also known as chromogens, give it a profound, intense color and leave their mark on your teeth even after having just a few sips. Along with these ingredients, red wine is acidic too. The acidity present in red wine promotes enamel erosion and makes it more absorbent and easier for the stain to stick.
So, it’s fine to enjoy a glass of wine occasionally. Just keep in mind some important tips like always brush and floss your teeth before pouring a glass, rinse your mouth afterward to prevent red wine from lasting on your teeth, eat some food (especially fibrous food) as you drink, etc.
Tea and Coffee
Both tea and coffee contain tannins, which is the key cause of teeth staining and discoloration. Tea and coffee stains occur when tannins in both these drinks build up on tooth enamel. Teas of all colors, even white tea can stain your teeth and erode enamel. However, black teas and dark coffees are the biggest culprits of causing staining. These drinks can alter the pH balance of your mouth, making acidic foods you eat afterward damage the teeth much more quickly.
Limiting the intake of both tea and coffee will benefit both your oral and overall health. Moreover, you can follow some tips like add more milk or cream to your tea or coffee, brush and floss after consuming these beverages, rinse or drink water after having a cup of tea or coffee can also help reduce stained teeth. You can also use some teeth whitening products to get rid of existing stains.
No doubt, berries provide a lot of health benefits and act as antioxidants. The deep hue in blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries can cause staining no matter in what form you are consuming these food items whether they are eaten whole, drunk as juice or processed as jelly and jam.
To prevent teeth stains and discoloration from berries, follow some good oral habits like drink water to combat their staining effect, don’t let berries to remain in your mouth for too long, finish with a glass of milk or have a piece of hard cheese to neutralize acid and strengthen your teeth.
Soda, cola, and other carbonated drinks
Sodas like cola and other carbonated drinks usually contain high fructose corn syrup that can cause teeth stains by making teeth appearing brown, yellow or dingy. Phosphoric acid is added to soda to give it a nice flavor. However, this substance is an acid that is largely responsible for weakening tooth enamel. Teeth with weakened enamel are highly susceptible to the stain-causing ingredients present in different food items and beverages. In addition to this, a coloring substance, also known as chromogens is also added to cola, which further leads to teeth-staining.
Limiting the intake of carbonated beverages can be a good idea to prevent teeth stains. If you still want to have these drinks occasionally, make sure to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly. Other tips you can follow are- use a straw when consuming soda to avoid direct contact between the soda and your teeth, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after drinking soda, etc. You can also go for teeth whitening procedure to cure existing stains.
Citrus and Acidic Foods
Though foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits are highly nutritious, they are acidic and can leave some acidic effects on tooth enamel. These acidic and citrus fruits break down the tooth enamel and result in exposing the dentin, which is a yellowish tissue under the enamel made up of calcium and phosphate crystals. The acid in beverages can also come from citrus flavorings like lime, lemon, and orange. Moreover, natural beverages such as orange juice and lemonade are also acidic. Therefore, it is advisable to make these drinks an occasional treat.
Some tips you can follow to prevent teeth stains from citrus and acidic foods include- try to avoid or at least limit the intake of acidic beverages including soft drinks, always use a straw to prevent direct contact between citrus beverages and your teeth, do not keep these types of drinks in your mouth for longer, after acidic meals or beverages, rinse your mouth with water and have a snack of cheese, dairy food or any other calcium-rich foods to neutralize acids.
These are some of the key food items and beverages that are highly responsible for teeth-staining and discoloration. You can preserve and maintain your beautiful smile by limiting the consumption of these kinds of foods and drinks. Also, it is essential to follow a healthy diet, make a few simple lifestyle changes, and maintain good oral hygiene to prevent the problem of tooth stains. If you are already dealing with the problem of teeth stains, you must use good quality stain-removing and teeth whitening products at home or inquire with General Dentistry in Roswell, GA about the best tooth whitening options available.