Tired of stained teeth that look yellowed and dull, but not sure what’s making them that way? We've made a list of some of the worst teeth-staining foods that make it difficult to maintain a pearly-white smile. And because we all like to indulge once in a while, we included a few stain-fighting foods that help ward off unwanted discolouration.
Five foods that cause stains and six foods that prevent them
Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications
Looking to keep your teeth as white as possible? Steer clear of these staining culprits; they're ferocious foods that stain teeth after whitening.
- Pasta sauce - The tomatoes in pasta sauce contain the perfect storm of staining properties that leave your teeth vulnerable. Between its acidity, bright red colour and tendency to cling onto your teeth, pasta sauce can easily penetrate the enamel and leave unsightly stains.
- TIP: Before tucking into your delicious Italian meal, try eating a salad or dark greens, like kale, spinach or broccoli. These foods create a thin film over your teeth that will help protect them from the staining effects of tomatoes.
- Curry - Commonly found in Indian dishes, curry is equally delicious and highly pigmented. Its deep yellow hue can stain teeth over time, so it’s best to limit it in your diet.
- TIP: Whenever you indulge in curried food, accompany it with stain-preventing fruits or vegetables like apple, carrot, celery or cucumber.
- Balsamic vinegar - It can make a delicious salad dressing, but it also packs a punch on the colour of your teeth. With a dark colour and a reputation for sticking to your teeth, balsamic vinegar can stain them if not washed away quickly.
- TIP: The next time you enjoy a salad with balsamic dressing, toss in some crunchy lettuce. Eating crunchy lettuce will help remove the balsamic vinegar from your teeth as you chew.
- Berries - Berries are packed full of antioxidants and, unfortunately, lots of staining properties. The strong colours in raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and cranberries, paired with the acidity of the fruits, can cause staining whether they’re eaten whole, as a jam or jelly, or as a juice.
- TIP: Drink something after you eat berries. Water will rinse your mouth and can help keep the staining effect under control. A glass of milk will neutralise the acidity of the berries and strengthen teeth.
- Beverages - Drinks can be some of the worst culprits when it comes to stained teeth. Between acidity and colour, drinks like coffee, tea, wine, carbonated drinks and sports drinks can stain teeth and contribute to enamel erosion.
- TIP: Drinking through a straw helps staining dyes avoid teeth altogether. Get a pack of straws to keep for your home or office and always have one handy when you are craving a teeth-staining drink.
Starting to feel like there’s no hope in keeping your teeth clean and stain-free? Don't give up yet! Some types of fruits and vegetables actually help clean your teeth while you eat, which can help keep stains from setting in. The next time you eat stain-causing foods, follow with one of these naturally cleaning snacks:
Maintaining a white smile can be difficult. Fortunately, you can help yourself out by avoiding stain-causing foods and including naturally cleaning foods in your diet. A little extra care will take your smile from conventional to confident!