Why Teeth Stain
As you age, little cracks form in the enamel of your teeth. Certain chemicals in foods wear down enamel and make it easier to stain while others contain strong colors that leave the stain. Chromogens, tannins and acids are the compounds that do the most damage and deposit the most color. Chromogens possess harsh pigments that stick to enamel. Tannins are plant based and make it easier for stains to latch onto teeth. Acids break down enamel and create more places for stains to adhere. When you repeatedly eat a lot of foods that contain any or a combination of these three things without receiving the proper care, you end up with this:
Foods that Will Stain
Most everyone knows that coffee and soda stain teeth and they’re right. Coffee is high in chromogens (in other words it has a very strong color) and acid. Soda is also very acidic and dark cola contains many chromogens. But tea is actually worse than even coffee. This might surprise half the US population who drinks it every day but it is full of acid and tannins.
Red wine is also commonly known to stain teeth. However, white wine will also tint your now-not-so-pearly-whites. Although white wine deposits no color, the acid and tannins inside it will damage enamel enough to make it incredibly easy for stain to linger.
Candies and sweetened drinks are sometimes colored for fun but remember, your teeth are fair game. Rule of thumb: if it changes the color of your tongue, odds are it will change the color of your teeth. And don’t think you are out of the woods with Gatorade or other sports drinks. Even those leave pigments in your enamel.
Also, be careful with fruit. Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries…) are crawling in chromogens. So are grapes and pomegranates as they also have tannins. Even tomatoes contain a large amount of chromogens.
What to Do About It
Obviously you can’t be expected to not eat anything that contains chromogens, tannins and acids. So, how do you combat their effects?
When you consume something that you know will stain your teeth, try to brush immediately after. If brushing is too inconvenient or simply not possible, rinse with water. Use a straw so that the liquid doesn’t come in contact with your most visible teeth. Check out this list of foods that whiten you teeth. And come see Dr. Olsen. Our whitening procedures are pain free and very effective. Contact us now for more information.