Five Foods that Cause Stains and Six Foods that Prevent Them

Women Enjoying a Warm Cup of Coffee

Tired of your teeth looking yellowed and dull, but not sure what’s making them that way? We made you 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 discoloration.

Foods that Stain

Looking to keep your teeth as white as can be? 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 their acidity, bright red color, and tendency to cling onto your teeth, pasta sauce can easily penetrate the enamel and leave unsightly stains.
    • TIP: Before diving into your Italian delight, 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 your teeth 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 apples, carrots, celery, or cucumbers.
  • Balsamic Vinegar- It can make a delicious salad dressing, but it also packs a punch on the color of your teeth. With a dark color and a reputation for sticking to your teeth, balsamic vinegar can stain your teeth if not washed away quickly.
    • TIP: 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 colors 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 neutralize the acidity of the berries and strengthen teeth.
  • Beverages- Drinks can be some of the worst culprits when it comes to staining teeth. Between acidity and color, drinks like coffee, tea, wine, sodas, 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.

Foods that Help Remove Stains

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. Next time you eat stain-causing foods, follow it up with one of these naturally-cleaning eats:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers

Maintaining a white smile can be difficult. Fortunately, you can help yourself out by avoiding stain-causing foods and mixing in naturally cleaning foods to your diet. A little extra care will take your smile from conventional to confident!

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Tips to Prevent Tooth Discoloration After TEETH WHITENING

Once you’ve completed a whitening treatment, there are a few steps you can take to maintain your whiter smile.

  • Avoid stain-causing foods and beverages – coffee, tea, wine, sports drinks, hard candy, berries and tomato sauce are all foods that can cause tooth discoloration.
  • Use a straw – when drinking beverages, use a straw to keep stain-causing dyes away from your teeth.
  • Quit smoking – smoking tobacco can cause teeth to become discolored. Eliminating tobacco can help keep your teeth bright.