Top Five Things that Stain your Teeth
Christmas is a time for family, feasting and fun. It may be a time when people worry a little more about their smiles because we often take lots of photos during the holiday festivities. There is still time for you to whiten your smile before Christmas. But if you are too busy for that, you can work on avoiding these commonly consumed things that lead to darkened teeth!
Coffee is so prevalent in our society these days. It seems like there is a coffee shop on every corner and even in the grocery store. Whether it is a necessity or just a comfort for you, coffee is probably the biggest cause of stained, darkened teeth.
Coffee is not only dark in color, leaving dark pigments on the surface of the teeth. It is also acidic, which means it softens the outermost layer of tooth enamel. This process is demineralization, and it allows the enamel to pick up stains more readily.
To reduce teeth staining from coffee, follow the tips listed at the bottom of the page.
Smoking is another major cause of teeth staining. (We don’t call them “smoker’s teeth” for nothing!) What many people do not know is that smoking anything leaves stains on the teeth.
The staining from smoking cigarettes is different than the staining we see with smoking marijuana. It is staining, nonetheless. Because smoking tends to be a habit picked up for decades, the staining it causes can seep deep into the internal layers of the teeth. This means it will not polish away as easily as the superficial staining from most drinks. To remove the staining from smoking, it usually takes a professional teeth cleaning and some teeth whitening.
To reduce teeth staining from smoking, stop smoking. You can follow the tips listed below, and they may help a little. But since there is no benefit to smoking at all, it’s best to just quit as soon as you can!
Red wine affects the teeth in a similar way that coffee does. The dark pigments it contains easily stain the outer layer of enamel, and its acidic pH weakens that outermost layer. Red wine usually leaves a temporary purplish stain on the teeth, which can be an embarrassing indicator of just how many glasses you’ve had.
In order to slow down this process, sip water with your wine. Gently swish water after a few sips of wine to flush away stains and bring the pH back up to neutral. It also helps to snack on some food while sipping wine. The snacking stimulates your body’s natural production of saliva.
Dentists see sodas at almost the same level as cigarettes: There is nothing good in them. Just quit! Sodas are not only acidic; they are very high in sugar. Even diet sodas have enough acid that they can soften the teeth and make them susceptible to stains and cavities.
We would prefer that you simply stop drinking sodas. If you just can’t, follow the tips at the bottom of the page to help fight the stains and cavities they cause.
Tea is #5 on this list because it isn’t quite as bad as the others as far as staining goes. It is dark, but not as dark as coffee. It is acidic, but not as acidic as sodas. The risk for staining with tea comes from constant consumption. Those who drink iced tea or hot tea throughout the day will likely experience dark staining of the teeth. If you are drinking unsweetened tea, your risk for dental problems is not terrible.
If you want to reduce the risk of staining from tea drinking, the same steps listed below apply.
How to Reduce Staining
- Drink your beverage quickly rather than sipping on it for hours at a time.
- After you finish, swish your mouth with plain tap water to neutralize the pH and reduce acid damage.
- Make sure you are using a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Fluoride is a natural mineral that re-hardens teeth and fights the demineralization process from acid.
- Don’t brush your teeth immediately. Instead, just swish with water, and brush after about 30 minutes have passed.
- Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate natural saliva production.
More Questions about Teeth Staining?
Call 940-382-1750 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chowning. He can answer any questions you have about teeth staining, teeth whitening, and overall dental care.
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