Foods That Stain Your Teeth

Enamel may be the strongest substance in the human body, but it is not impervious to a good cup of dark Darjeeling tea.

Tea? Really?

Tannic acid is the reason this tea or just about any tea for that matter, will break down the enamel in your teeth and eventually lead to discoloration. The acid breaks down the enamel, allowing the pigments in tea to penetrate, resulting in a smile that lacks the gleaming radiance you’re hoping for.

So, does that make abandoning tea – and possibly a whole bunch of foods and beverages adorning your pantry – the right thing to do for your smile? Is drinking filtered water and eating vitamins the only way to keep my smile brilliant?

Thankfully, the answer is no.

There are ways to stop the process that can discolor your precious enamel.
For instance, in the case if tea, you can neutralize the acid with a good brushing after. Doing so allows you to dilute the tannic acid as well as physically remove it from your teeth. Other options are to drink water afterward dilute the acid. Another option is to drink your tea through a straw.
Similar steps can be taken with other foods that stain. The following is a list of some common foods that stain teeth:

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Wine
  • Sports drinks (Acids they contain eat away at the enamel)
  • Sauces (especially the more colorful variety like curries, tomato sauce or soy sauce)
  • Soda
  • Vibrantly-colored berries
  • Candy (always good to avoid for reasons other potential staining)

To see if a food will stain your teeth, ask yourself if it would require bleach to remove that food if dropped on the linens? If the answer is yes then you may want to take precautions.

Although swishing a drink, such as wine, in your mouth seems like a good way to savor the flavor, exposing your teeth to so many agents of discoloration may not be a good idea. Be efficient when drinking. Drink so that the liquid doesn’t linger, or choose to use a straw.

Moderate your intake of things like blueberries or raspberries. It’s not a good idea to completely eliminate them as they are rich in antioxidants, but choosing a grapefruit once in a while instead is not a bad idea.

In most cases, the stain can be removed at your dental cleaning appointment by your hygienist, but sometimes you need a heavier dose of whitening, such as EZ WHITE which can be performed in either our Rocky Hill or West Hartford office.

Mouthwash 101


Why use mouthwash?

The best way to complete a tooth brushing and flossing session is by swishing out your mouth with some mouthwash. Not only does it kill all the residual bacteria and wash out the smallest food and beverage particles, it also leaves your mouth feeling refreshed and pleasantly tingly.

However, it can be difficult choosing the right mouthwash, especially when you consider the number of mouthwashes currently available on the market. So choosing the right one for you can seem like a huge task.

Let us try and break it down for you.

Types of mouthwash

Generally, mouthwashes fall into one of three categories: Breath freshening, fluoride-containing, and anti-gingivitis.
Breath freshening mouthwashes are the most common, like Listerine. This type is more readily available than the other two types. While breath freshening mouthwashes can make your breath smell good temporarily, they offer little else when it comes to oral hygiene.

If you don’t have a specific oral health problem and you’re looking for a mouthwash that can generally clean and freshen up your mouth, this is a good choice for you.

Some mouthwashes contain fluoride, if your goal is specifically to keep your teeth from getting cavities, you might want to choose a mouthwash that contains fluoride. It helps to reduce the lesions that lead to cavity formation. Fluoride is in most commercially available toothpaste, and it is also added to the water in many cities, but you might want to consider using extra fluoride if your teeth are particularly prone to cavities.

Lastly, anti-gingivitis mouthwashes are great for people who suffer from oral health problems such as gingivitis and periodontitis. The anti-septic property of this kind of mouthwash helps clean out harmful bacteria from the mouth so that you feel both clean and refreshed after using it. Clinical trials have shown that chlorhexidine, the active ingredient in prescription mouthwashes, has much stronger antibacterial properties than the ingredients in over-the-counter brands. You may need a prescription for this type of mouthwash.