Drinks That Stain Your Teeth | Preventing discoloration without compromising your favorite beverages
A large variety of liquid refreshments that many enjoy, including coffee, tea, wine, and juice, can cause staining of your teeth. While limiting your intake of these beverages is beneficial to your oral and overall health, Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Diora are available to help educate you. It is also important to be knowledgeable of the specific dangers these substances present and how to best avoid discoloration and enamel erosion.
The first step in understanding how and why teeth stain, is to understand the tooth’s structure. Your tooth’s natural color is determined by the color of your dentin, the second layer of your tooth. Your enamel, the outer layer and most visible part of your tooth, is the portion that can be be stained from the consumption of certain liquids. The following drinks are those you should try to avoid:
Coffee is a commonly consumed beverage. In fact, approximately 83% of adults in the United States, intake a minimum of one cup per day. Constantly sipping on coffee throughout the day washes the chromogens and acid onto your enamel. Chromogens are compounds found in coffee with very strong pigments that can easily adhere to the surface of your teeth. Although your enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it is sometimes uneven and has a rough surface. The pigments from coffee can become lodged into the cracks, ridges, and microscopic pits. Without proper measures taken, this can eventually cause permanent stains on your teeth.
Also, as an interesting note, adding cream will not reduce the pigmentation found in coffee. Therefore, while it may seem that a lighter coffee would result in less staining, the same pigments and acids are still present as in black coffee. Increasing milk or cream would only be helpful if you consume significantly less coffee.
Tea is an even bigger culprit than coffee. Does this surprise you? Unknowingly, many people love to savor this beverage throughout the day, without a second thought as to the harm it is presenting. Tea is rich in tannins. Tannins are a yellowish or brownish organic substance found in tea (and many other foods) to enhance flavor and color quality. It is an excellent antioxidant, but can be destructive to your enamel. Black tea is most commonly used for brewing iced teas and has been known as the biggest culprit. If possible, try to use herbal, green, or white teas as a better alternative.
The chromogens found in coffee, as well as tannins found in tea, are both present in red wine. This combination is the perfect recipe for tooth discoloration. What about white wine? White wine does not have chromogens, which is a plus, but it is more acidic than red. Eventually this can cause the same or even more damage and discoloration to your teeth. The acid in white wine breaks down your enamel, opening a pathway for other foods and beverages to stain your teeth.
There are many other drinks that pose a risk such as juice, sports drinks, as well as soda. These drinks should also be carefully monitored. Darker juices, like grape, cranberry, and prune are especially accountable for muddying your pearly whites. Darker soda, like juices, are obvious tarnish liquids, but clear sodas can also contribute due to the citric acid in them.
How do I keep my teeth from staining?
Prevention is key to fight the blemishes and avoiding stains from developing on your teeth. The following tips are beneficial to keep your teeth looking their best:
- Limit your intake of these beverages.
- Do not brush your teeth immediately after drinking an acidic or sugary beverage.
- Chew sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva production.
- Rather than abstaining or sipping throughout the day, designate specific break times to enjoy your drink.
- Rinse your mouth with water after consuming your beverage.
What do I do if my teeth are stained?
If your teeth are stained or discolored from years of consuming these beverages, at Colony Square Dental Associates, both Drs. Hochberg & Diora are happy to provide the best advice on how to best proceed with restoring and whitening your teeth. There are many whitening options both in our office and in the comfort of your home. Brushing with a whitening toothpaste twice a day and flossing twice a day is your best defense against stain fighting. You should also visit your hygienist for a professional dental cleaning every six months and an examination with the dentist. Our hope is to provide you with the tools needed for a lifetime of healthy, stained-free teeth.
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