Did you know that Americans spend more than $1.4 billion on over-the-counter teeth whitening products? There’s no doubt that all of us want to enjoy a beautiful white smile, but most people are surprised to find out just how many factors affect tooth color.
Discoloration can be caused by factors such as the natural aging process, tobacco use, and the accumulation of tartar deposits. One major contributor to stains that is often overlooked is dietary choices.
Why Does Tooth Staining Occur?
Obviously, teeth are designed to be durable and to withstand pressure from biting and chewing. With this in mind, you may be asking yourself why teeth are susceptible to staining? The answer to this depends on the type of stain that occurs. Tooth stains can be categorized into two types:
Extrinsic Stains: Extrinsic stains refer to the staining of the enamel or the outer protective surface of the tooth. Although the enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it also has a porous surface where pigments can get trapped.
Intrinsic Stains: On the other hand, intrinsic stains refer to the staining of the sensitive inner layer of the tooth, known of the dentin. These types of stains are often caused by physical trauma to the teeth or excessive exposure to fluoride.
Common Foods and Beverages That Stain Teeth
We encourage patients to be cautious of the following foods and beverages if they’re worried about tooth discoloration. Some of the most common staining foods and drinks include:
Coffee: For many of us, coffee is an absolute essential to kick off the day. However, it’s important to note that this caffeinated beverage is known to cause coffee stains. On top of that, coffee can also dry out your mouth and is particularly dangerous because of its acidity.
Teas: If you’re thinking of replacing your daily cup of coffee with tea, think again! Turns out that drinking tea can be just as dangerous. Tannins, which are organic substances found in plants, are in tea and can lead to stains. In general, a good rule of thumb is to remember that the darker the tea, the more likely you are to develop discoloration.
Berries: Although they’re rich in antioxidants and other vitamins, berries are not so great for the brightness of your smile. The deep pigment in blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries can linger in your mouth and have a staining effect on your teeth.
Curry: This delicious spice is perfect for Indian and other exotic dishes, but it can also cause discoloration over time. We encourage you to eat curry dishes sparingly or rinse your mouth out with water after eating to help wash away the highly saturated pigment.
Balsamic Vinegar: Be careful about using balsamic vinegar on your salads! Due to the natural dark hue and its stickiness, the pigment can easily stain your teeth.
Feel Confidence With Your Smile — Contact Our Office!
Whether you’re concerned about tooth stains or gum disease, we offer a variety of dental services to give you a healthy, beautiful smile! Contact our office today to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Matthew Huff and the talented staff here at Precision Dentistry & Implants.