Written by: Drew Vanderbrook, DDS (Dallas County Dental Society member)
Most people want healthy, white teeth. While tooth discoloration is a normal part of the aging process, there are multiple factors that can accelerate the discoloration of teeth. Certain foods are known to cause yellowing, browning, and stains on the teeth to develop.
Top Stain-Causing Foods
There are a number of foods and beverages that are known to stain teeth. Foods that contain high levels of acid, sugar, and dark pigmentations are top culprits for tooth discoloration. Enamel has tiny pores that aren’t visible to the naked eye. However, when the teeth are exposed to stain-causing foods, the pigmentation seeps into the enamel. If acid or sugars are also in the foods, this intensifies the rate of discoloration as they cause the enamel to weaken.
Tomato products contain high amounts of acid, as well as dark pigmentation. The high level of acidity causes the red pigmentation to cling to the teeth, which leaves the teeth exposed to staining. Not only will tomatoes cause staining, but pasta sauces, tomato juices, and even ketchup can lead to discoloration.
Probably what you think of first with teeth staining, acidic and sugary beverages are huge culprits for tooth discoloration. Drinks like coffee, tea, soda, red wine, and even sports drinks stain teeth and eat away at tooth enamel. While it isn’t always possible to avoid these beverages, it’s best to drink through a straw to limit contact with the teeth.
While berries are loaded with antioxidants, they will also stain your teeth. Dark berries, like blueberries, have a dark pigmentation that will sit on your teeth and cause discoloration.
No matter if you’re eating berries or drinking coffee and wine, it’s always a good idea to swish with water afterwards or brush your teeth to remove the stain-causing residue. This can help remove the stain from your teeth and keep your teeth light and bright.
Read more about teeth whitening from the American Dental Association.