Foods and Drinks That Can Stain Your Teeth — and How to Protect Your Smile

close up of smiling woman in green sweater holding a cup of tea
Author: cmcgovern Posted: March 2nd, 2021 Category:

Your teeth can easily become stained because of certain foods and drinks. Fortunately, there are many effective ways to prevent and remove stains. 

One of the most common questions for dentists is: how can I get rid of stains on my teeth? Dental staining is very common, and is usually caused by dietary habits that lead to discoloration of your enamel. Without the right preventative measures, anyone’s pearly whites can develop a yellowish tint.

To protect your smile, it’s important to understand how staining develops. Usually, stained teeth are caused by specific foods and beverages that affect the color of your enamel, but there are also other sources of dental staining. Let’s discuss the most common ways your teeth can become discolored — and what to do about staining when it occurs. 

How Do Teeth Get Stained? 

Stains on the surface of your teeth are most commonly caused by certain dietary habits or insufficient oral hygiene. Your teeth are covered by a thin, clear layer of protein which surrounds your white enamel. If you eat a lot of sugary or acidic foods, or experience high amounts of bacterial buildup, this protein can collect particles that give it a yellowish hue.

For diet-related staining, the best course of action is to avoid certain foods. Some foods have pigments that are especially prone to staining, while others can break down enamel and lead to high levels of plaque. 

Foods that are especially known to stain your teeth include: 

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine and acidic juices
  • Tomato-based sauces
  • Sugary foods
  • Soda

It is important to note that, while not technically a food, tobacco products are also a fast track to yellow discoloration in your enamel. 

How Can I Prevent Stained Teeth? 

Now for the good news: staining is usually quite easy to prevent with some simple changes to your dietary habits and dental routine. 

To address yellowing teeth, you should figure out whether your discoloration is food-related or caused by insufficient oral hygiene. With high levels of plaque, your teeth can turn yellow due to an increase in bacterial buildup. Plaque and tartar can be easily removed with a teeth cleaning from the dentist, and by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth. 

To prevent diet-related staining, make sure to brush and floss your teeth regularly and minimize your consumption of stainogenic foods. If you’re especially keen to consume coffee or tea, make sure to brush your teeth soon after drinking these beverages each morning. And, if you use tobacco products regularly, talk to your doctor about ways to quit. 

How Can I Remove Stains On My Teeth? 

For the most effective approach to teeth whitening, consult your dentist. Depending on the severity of your teeth staining, your dentist may suggest a variety of strategies to whiten your teeth. Your first option will likely be over-the-counter remedies, like a whitening toothpaste or whitening strips. If these options aren’t as effective as you’d like, your dentist may implement at-home gel treatments or a hydrogen peroxide-based teeth whitening procedure. 

For teeth whitening in the Denver metro area, visit us at Espire. Our experienced dentists offer professional dental care in a relaxing environment. To learn more about teeth whitening at Espire, request an appointment today. With the right approach, you can brighten up your smile in no time.