How to Eat to Avoid Stained Teeth
Stained teeth can make your pearly whites take on a dingy yellow tint. Instead of turning to the whitening strips or gel, prevent stained teeth in the first place by eating to avoid tooth-staining foods. While you’re making a few key dietary changes, you also can choose foods that help keep your teeth white. Here’s how to start your white-teeth diet.
Say Yes to Strawberries
Don’t let their red color fool you: Strawberries contain malic acid, an acid type that can eat away at tooth-staining acids on your teeth, helping to keep them clean. While they don’t replace toothpaste, you can rub mashed strawberries on your teeth and leave on for up to five minutes to activate their whitening powers.
Say No to Other Berries
Strawberries seem to be the exception to the berries rule. Other berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, cherries and pomegranates and all the tasty foods made from these berries, can increase the risk of staining your teeth. You can switch to options such as white cranberries or white grapes instead, but remember they do contain enamel-eating acids that could harm your teeth and contribute to staining.
Increase Your Apple, Celery and Carrot Intake
While apples and carrots may sound like a diet for horses, it’s also a diet for whiter teeth. Apples, carrots and celery all contain compounds that stimulate saliva production. The more saliva you have, the better your mouth can wash away harmful compounds present in your mouth. These foods are also crunchy, so as you much on them, you are (in a small way) brushing your teeth free from plaque and buildup.
Say No to Tea Time
While herbal tea options such as black tea can soothe your body and throat, they also can stain your teeth. In some instances, black tea can be so staining that it affects your teeth more than coffee. Before you switch to lighter teas, such as white or chamomile, take a pause. These teas also can affect your tooth enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to discoloration and damage.
Skip Some Sauces
Darker-colored sauces, such as soy, tomato and curry sauces can have an unexpected effect: staining teeth. Opt for less-staining and lighter cream sauces to keep your teeth from staining.
Wine Isn’t Fine
Red wine may be tasty, but it also has tannins and chromogens — two pigments that have major tooth-staining potential. Before you think you can just switch to white wine, think again: White wine contains more acid than red wine, which means your tooth enamel is more vulnerable to erosion.
Cut Down on the Coffee
Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and soda may wake you up, but they also can stain your teeth. These dark beverages contain both teeth-staining compounds and acids that affect your teeth enamel. Just like wine, this is true for all sodas as even light-colored sodas contain acidic compounds that can affect your teeth.
Diss The Dessert Tray
Desserts contain sugars, which are sticky substances that love to linger on your teeth, contributing to staining and erosion. This is especially true if you are a sucker for sweets such as candy and popsicles because the food colorings added can also color your teeth. If you have a major sweet tooth, try switching sugary foods for less-staining options, such as strawberries and whipped cream. Also, if you chew gum or eat other hard candies frequently, make sure they’re sugar-free, recommends Charles V. Ankar, DDS, a dentist with a family practice in Chattanooga, Tenn. This can cut down on the sticky sugars that like to remain on your teeth and cause decay.
Brush After Eating
Staining doesn’t happen immediately — the longer you leave tooth-staining foods on your teeth, the more likely you are to experience stains. If you (understandably) can’t give up coffee or spaghetti, try to brush your teeth after each meal to reduce stains. Drugstores sell single-use tooth brushing tools that can fit in a pocket, desk drawer or purse for use when you need to brush after eating, in case a toothbrush and toothpaste does not go with your outfit.