We all know that avoiding sugar is a major way to prevent tooth decay. Also, that acidity in citrus fruits like lemons can weaken tooth enamel if we suck on them too much. But what about teeth staining? What can we do to prevent it and maintain our brightest, whitest smiles possible? Proper oral hygiene is very important. But it also helps to know which foods and beverages stain our teeth. To protect your pearly whites, consider these five culprits:
1) Pasta Sauce: The tomatoes in pasta sauce are acidic, have a bright red color, and tend to cling to teeth. But tomatoes also have health benefits, so there’s no reason to avoid them. If you eat some dark green veggies, like kale or spinach, beforehand, they can create a protective film over your teeth, which wards off staining.
2) Curry: It has a deep pigmentation, which can turn teeth yellow over time. But curry is also considered a healthy and a delicious spice. When you eat curry, mix in fresh fruits and vegetables that prevent stains, such as apples, carrots, cauliflower and celery.
3) Balsamic Vinegar: Its dark color can stick to teeth, which can cause staining if not brushed away. If you enjoy a salad with balsamic vinegar, be sure to include a crunchy lettuce, since chewing the lettuce helps clean the vinegar from teeth as you eat. Also drinking water afterward helps.
4) Berries: They are full of healthy antioxidants, but they also have the potential to stain — particularly blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and blackberries. It doesn’t matter if they are eaten whole, drunk as juice or processed as jam, they can stick to teeth. Don’t let them linger in your mouth for too long, and drink water to combat their staining effect. You can also finish with a glass of milk or hard cheese, which neutralize acid and strengthen teeth.
5) Beverages: Many drinks, including coffee, tea, sodas, sports drinks and wine, cause stains due to their acidity and colors. All kinds of teas, even white tea, can stain teeth and erode enamel. Sports drinks damage tooth enamel and are loaded with unhealthy amounts of sugar. Both light and dark sodas, because of their acidity, cause discoloration and even encourage further staining from foods. Red wine stains teeth, and white wine can as well. In fact, white wine is more acidic than red, which can cause more discoloration. Limiting your intake of these beverages, and drinking water to flush out stains will help.
The bottom line is, moderation is key when it comes to foods and drinks that discolor teeth. Using fluoride mouthrinse or having an in-office fluoride varnish helps counteract acids in your diet and promotes remineraliztion of the outer tooth structure, which can significantly improve your smile.
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