Ever wonder what foods can dull your teeth? How about ones that can make them brighter? I’m a little dental hygiene obsessed, so thought I could share some wisdom via Marc Liechtung, DMD, inventor of Snap-on-Smile and principal in Manhattan Dental Arts, a New York-based practice that specializes in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Below, his “Dirty Dozen” (rule of thumb: any food that can stain a white T-shirt can stain your teeth too), and another 12 that can whiten that smile too:
12 Foods That Stain Your Teeth
1. Black Coffee and Black Tea — The darker the drink, the more staining that can occur. So try adding a little extra milk to lighten the color and reduce the staining effect.
2. Wine—Both red and white wines if taken in excess will stain your teeth. Although red stains, white wine’s acidic composition actually etches tiny grooves in your teeth making them more porous and more easily stained.
3. Colas and Sports Drinks—These actually promote staining by other foods because they are so highly acidic.
4. Berries— Blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, cherries and other berries, although excellent for your overall health, can stain your teeth. So, if you’re crazy for berries, be sure to rinse out your mouth thoroughly with water after each indulgence.
5. Beets—Now here’s a vegetable that could put a powerful stain in your t-shirt, so, like all foods that stain, moderation is called for with this one.
6. Sauces—Soy sauce and tomato sauce, as well as other deeply colored sauces, are believed to have significant staining potential.
7. Juices—Grape, pomegranate and cranberry are highly pigmented and can cause staining. So, if you must imbibe, try rinsing your mouth out with water or drinking juices through a straw, thereby bypassing the fronts of your teeth
8. Pickles and ketchup—These acidic foods are good at opening up the pores of your tooth enamel allowing for easy staining.
9. Balsamic Vinegar—While great on a salad, causes havoc to your teeth. If you must, try it on lettuce, which has a natural ability to provide a protective film over your teeth.
10. Candy–Sweets contain teeth-staining coloring agents. If your tongue turns a funny color, there’s a good chance that your teeth will too.
11. Curry—Although great on Indian food, this yellow-staining food flavoring can be harsh on teeth. So make sure to rinse thoroughly after indulging.
12. Popsicles—Did you ever look at your tongue after you’ve finished your fruity, sugary pop? Not only does it color your tongue, but also your teeth. Plus, it has added double whammy negative effect produced by all of that sugar. So, limit your intake and rinse with water after finishing.
12 Foods the Whiten Teeth
1. Apples and pears increase salivary production which flushes away stains over time.
2. Pineapple acts as a natural stain remover.
3. Carrots contain vitamin A which is needed for healthy tooth enamel.
4. Cauliflower and cucumbers also help to increase salivary production the natural way to flush away stains.
5. Green vegetables like broccoli, lettuce and spinach contains iron which helps form an acid-resistant film or barrier that can protect the enamel on your teeth.
6. Shitake mushrooms help inhibit bacteria from growing in your mouth.
7. Onions help reduce bacteria that cause tooth decay.
8. Cheese is rich in protein, calcium and phosphorus, all of which can help safeguard the acids in your mouth.
9. Salmon provides calcium and vitamin D, nutrients needed for healthy bones and teeth.
10. Poppy and sesame seeds help scrub away plaque.
11. Ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory to support healthy mouth tissue.
12. Basil is a natural antibiotic that reduces bacteria in the mouth.