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Smile Stainers: Foods and Beverages that Can Stain your Teeth

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Certain foods and beverages can cause a smile to appear stained, yellowed, or dingy.  Learn about which foods to avoid to keep your smile bright.

A smile that is stained, yellow, or dingy-looking can make a person look much older than they are and can negatively affect his or her self-esteem.  What many people aren’t aware of is that some of the foods or beverages they regularly consume may be leading to a less-than-brilliant smile.  While a tooth whitening treatment is a great way to brighten your grin, it’s a good idea to avoid these smile-staining foods in the first place.

Coffee
This is a very common culprit when it comes to stained teeth, and it’s also one of the worst offenders on this list of foods and drinks.  Teeth are porous, and liquids can be easily absorbed into their surface.  Dark or black coffee can really do a number on the appearance of your smile.  Don’t despair, though: you may not need to give up coffee entirely.  Try lightening up your morning cup of joe with a little bit of milk, and this should help diminish the potential for stains.

Tea
Just like coffee, dark-colored teas can stain the teeth.  Tea contains tannins, which can make a person’s smile appear dull and stained.  To diminish the stain factor when it comes to tea, try drinking lighter-colored teas that have fewer tannins and a lower potential for discoloring your grin.

Red Wine
While red wine may reduce gum inflammation and thus diminish the potential for gum disease, it can also stain the teeth.  Try opting for white wine instead, or swishing some water in your mouth after drinking red.

Dark Sodas
Even diet sodas can stain the teeth if they are dark in color.  Furthermore, cold or very hot temperatures can cause the teeth to contract and become more porous, so cold soda and hot coffee are even more likely to contribute to tooth stains.  Stains aren’t the only negative side effect of drinking soda: the acids in these beverages can also wear away at enamel and the sugars in them can lead to tooth decay.  If you love soda, try shifting to a lighter colored or clear soda, and always sip sodas through a straw to minimize the beverage’s contact with your teeth.

Fruit Juices
The acids in fruit juices may lead to yellow teeth, and dark juices like cranberry juice have even more staining potential.  If you drink juice for nutrition, try shifting to solid fruit instead.  If you still want to drink juice, try doing it through a straw.

Soy Sauce
Just like dark beverages, dark sauces can also stain your teeth.  In fact, some dentists recommend that patients remember that a food that can stain their clothes can also stain their teeth.  Other sauces to watch out for include tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar.
Blueberries
Blueberries are an antioxidant-rich super food, but their dark blue skins can easily stain the teeth.  Don’t give up on blueberries, though: just swish some water in your mouth after you eat them.

Beets
Beets are used to dye fabric and other materials, so it stands to reason that they can stain your teeth.  Beet juice, which is concentrated, is especially dangerous in this light.  If you eat beets, try to brush your teeth within an hour to reduce their potential to stain your teeth.

Curry
Curry is yellow, so it makes sense that it can stain your teeth yellow, too.  Just like with other foods or liquids that may stain your teeth, either brush or swish with water after enjoying foods with curry in them.

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