What Causes Stains on Teeth?

Teeth staining or discoloration typically occurs as a result of foods and beverages that contain darker colors, tannins, or have a high acid content. Discoloration can also be caused by tobacco products and some medications.

1. Dark Colored Juices & Wines

Grape and cranberry juice and red wines are three of the most popular beverages that discolor teeth as they are concentrated sources of dark pigments. They also contain acid, which is known to leave teeth more vulnerable to staining. Drinking lighter-colored juices and wines may help prevent these stains.

2. Coffee

Coffee is dark in color due to naturally occurring tannins and is a common culprit in tooth staining. Your teeth are porous so they absorb the liquids you put into your body. Even if you just drink one or two cups of coffee every day, the dark color of the coffee can stain your teeth.

3. Tea

Many people may convert from coffee to tea in the hopes of preventing their teeth from becoming stained. This strategy may not yield desired results, though, because dark colored teas actually contain more tannins than coffee. One possible solution is to drink green or white teas instead of black. Green tea will still stain your teeth not not to the same degree as black tea.

4. Soy Sauce

Asian food fans may be disappointed to hear that soy sauce may stain teeth. Any dark liquid has the potential to stain teeth but especially soy sauce because it is so concentrated.

5. Blueberries

Although blueberries are known to be a healthy superfood full of anti-oxidants, the stains they leave on your teeth may be a dealbreaker. Luckily, you can rinse your teeth after eating them to help prevent staining.

6. Balsamic Vinegar

Due to its dark pigment, balsamic vinegar can make your teeth yellow if not rinsed away immediately.

7. Pasta Sauce

Pasta sauce can quickly penetrate your tooth enamel and create stains due to its acidity, concentrated red color, and tendency to stick to your teeth. One way your can avoid red sauce staining is to eat a salad or greens such as spinach or broccoli before delving into red sauce. These vegetables form a thin layer on your teeth that can help protect them from the staining effects of tomatoes.

8. Beets

Beets, like blueberries and tomatoes, are rich in essential nutrients, but their staining power is much stronger than the other foods on this list. Make sure your rinse right after eating beets.

9. Turmeric

Turmeric, a staple used in Indian curries and other foods, is a strongly pigmented spice. Because of its dark yellow color, this spice may stain teeth over time so it’s recommended to rinse and brush after eating.

10. Soda

Soda is bad for your health and it’s particularly hard on your teeth. It not only bathes your teeth in sugar and acid (two things that WILL destroy your tooth enamel), but it also contains dark colors that will stain your teeth. To avoid tooth staining from sodas, choose clear or light-colored sodas instead of cola. Keep in mind, however, that you can still sustain damage from the sugar and acids.

11. Tobacco Products

The nicotine and tar found in cigarettes, pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco and vaping can all stain your teeth from yellow to brown.

12. Tetracycline

Teeth discoloration and staining caused by the antibiotic tetracycline are referred to as tetracycline teeth. Gray or brown stains that form streaks or bands over the teeth are the most common forms of discoloration.

13. Other Medications

Several other classes of medications including high blood pressure medications, chemotherapy, antihistamines and some antipsychotic medications can cause teeth stains.

There are a few different ways to address discolored teeth. If you have concerns about staining on your teeth, please come see Dr. Patel to discuss your options!

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