Nobody wants discolored teeth. Knowing which foods and drinks can stain your teeth—and how to correct this problem—can help boost your confidence and brighten your smile. Some of the following seven culprits may surprise you.
1. Coffee & Tea
Drinking coffee and/or tea is a common culprit of stained teeth. Why, you ask? As Advanced Family Dentist Care points out, the combination of the acid and tannins in coffee and tea can wear down the enamel of your teeth and eventually stain them. Believe it or not, tea can actually stain your teeth more than coffee, according to a 2014 study published in the European Journal of Dentistry.
2. Red Wine
Like tea, red wine is also acidic and contains tannins—so you may want to limit consumption to keep your pearly whites clean and bright. In fact, after a session of teeth whitening, the European Journal of Dentistry suggests avoiding red wine, tea and cola. And before you opt for white wine instead, you should know it can also stain your teeth!
Acidic and dark in color, cola is another culprit of stained teeth, says the Cleveland Clinic. Since soda isn’t a healthy choice nutritionally, there are numerous reasons to avoid cola and other sodas. These drinks are loaded with sugar and calories but contain few (if any) beneficial nutrients. By giving up cola, your teeth and waistline will thank you.
4. Sports Drinks
The rich color of many sports drinks can also cause stains on teeth—not to mention the fact that they’re also a source of added sugar. To help avoid tooth discoloration caused by sports drinks (and reduce your overall sugar intake), choose reduced-sugar sports drinks that are light (preferably white/clear) in color.
5. Certain Fruits & Veggies
Certain acidic fruits and veggies, especially those dark in color, are also sources of tooth discoloration. Tufts University notes that the fruits and veggies to steer clear of in order to avoid discolored teeth include beets, berries, pickles and fruit juices.
6. Colorful Sweets
You probably already know that the added sugar in sweets is bad for your teeth. However, what you may not realize is that certain brightly colored candies, ice pops and chocolates can cause tooth discoloration. That’s just one more reason to steer clear of sweets in your regular diet.
7. Some Seasonings & Condiments
There are a few condiments and seasonings to shy away from when you want to avoid stained teeth, says Tufts University. These include curry, soy sauce and tomato sauce. Due to its strong acidity and deep color, balsamic vinegar is also a culprit when it comes to discolored teeth.
Preventing & Correcting Stains
It’s worth noting that outside of these foods and drinks, other lifestyle habits—like smoking—can contribute to discolored teeth. The Oral Health Foundation notes that smoking can turn teeth yellow (and even brown) after a short period of time. So steer clear of smoking for good. Your mouth, gums, teeth and lungs will appreciate it.
Even if you routinely consume food and drinks that stain your teeth, several strategies can help you keep teeth white and bright. Brush and floss regularly (especially after eating), get your teeth professionally cleaned every six months, cut back on teeth-staining foods and drinks, use over-the-counter whitening agents and visit a dental professional who can whiten your teeth. Also, try drinking beverages through straws and rinsing your mouth with water after eating foods that are high in acid content.