Foods and Habits That Stain Your Teeth
If you want to keep your teeth white, check this list of foods and beverages that stain teeth.
Tips to Minimize Stained Teeth
Ironically, many of the foods and beverages that stain teeth are loaded with
antioxidants, which, of course, have key health benefits. So if you’re worried
about stained teeth, you might want to cut back on these foods and beverages
rather than cut them out entirely. “Moderation and a balanced diet are key,”
In addition, consider taking steps to minimize the contact between your
teeth and stain-promoting substances. Dentists offer several suggestions:
- Use a straw. Sipping beverages through a straw is believed to help
keep teeth-staining beverages away from the teeth -- the front teeth, in
particular. No, you’re probably not eager to use a straw for coffee or wine.
But it shouldn’t be too much trouble to use a straw for cola, juices, and iced
- Swallow promptly. Swallowing stain-causing foods and beverages
quickly is also believed to help protect teeth from stains. Obviously, it’s
important to chew foods thoroughly before swallowing. And gulping can, of
course, cause choking. But don’t retain things in your mouth for long periods
of time. In other words, savor flavors -- but not for too long. “There’s no
question that the quicker you drink something the lower the exposure [to
stain-promoting substances],” says Debra Glassman, DDS, a dentist in private
practice in New York City.
- Swish with water. It’s not always convenient to brush your teeth
after having something to eat or drink. Even when it is, it might be better not
to: dental enamel is highly vulnerable to abrasion from tooth brushing for up
to 30 minutes after the consumption of an acidic food or beverage. So it’s
safer simply to swish with water -- and brush later, once the enamel has had a
chance to re-harden. Another way to remove stain-causing substances without
brushing, Howell says, is to chew sugarless gum after eating or drinking.