Stained, discoloured teeth are something no one wants. A bright smile can make a person more confident and youthful. Though darkening teeth is a natural part of aging, some of the things you eat and drink every day can also be staining your teeth.
Acid isn’t something one wants in their mouth very long. The teeth are covered by hard tissue called enamel, which keeps them strong. Acids eat away at the enamel and expose little holes in it, making it look more like the surface of a sponge. When your enamel is porous, it absorbs stains more easily and can make you more prone to cavities.
While the saliva naturally neutralizes acids, it takes about 20 minutes for the mouth to reach a neutral state after eating.
The best defense against acidic, staining foods and drink is water. Not only does it keep one hydrated, but it also rinses away damaging acids and staining particles.
Here are 5 food items to avoid to not stain teeth.
Black Tea (and Coffee): Black tea stains teeth worse than coffee! That’s because black tea contains more of a natural class of compounds called tannins. Tannins stick to the teeth because they’re attracted to the protein in enamel.
Solution: Drink green or white tea, as they are lower in tannins. Or lighten your tea or coffee with milk to reduce its tooth discoloration potential. As a bonus, some green tea has fluoride in it, and mint tea can freshen your breath.
White Wine: They too contain teeth-staining tannins. Red and white wine are both hard on your teeth, but white wine actually has more acid than red! So drinking white wine makes your teeth more likely to absorb stains.
Solution: Rinse your mouth with water after that glass of wine. Or eat a protein like cheese along with it, which will help protect your teeth and keep them white. If possible, brush your teeth half an hour later.
Carbonated, Energy, and Sports Drinks: Soda, Gatorade, Monster energy drinks -- not only have a high acid content, but are also high in sugar, so cavities are practically inevitable.
Solution: Try to drink less of these drinks, or drink water afterwards. One can also try natural alternatives like coconut water.
Curries and Tomato Sauce: Not only are curries and tomato sauce highly saturated, color-wise, but they’re also acidic (especially tomato sauce).
Solution: If possible, try alfredo or white wine sauce instead. If you can’t stay away from that yellow curry or Italian dish, eat spinach beforehand, which can help counteract the acid.
Balsamic Vinegar: Balsamic vinegar can discolour teeth. According to a study, teens who ate vinegar-heavy foods had a 30 to 85 per cent increased risk of enamel erosion.
Solution: Veggies! Lettuce is one food that can counteract the effects of vinegar. So save vinegar for a salad dressing. Or munch on broccoli before. Like spinach, it coats your teeth, protecting them from vinegar’s effects.