They say a smile is one of the best beauty tools, but that’s probably not quite the case if you’ve got a set of discoloured teeth that you’re self-conscious about. Having healthy, stain-free pearly whites is definitely a confidence booster that enhances self-esteem and improves our social experiences. So, how do you keep your teeth sparkling white and free from yellowish or brown stains?

Tooth discolouration has a number of known extrinsic and intrinsic causes such as smoking, food and drinks, poor dental hygiene, ageing and certain diseases. In this article we explore some of the common causes of stained teeth, how to prevent tooth discolouration and how to remedy the problem if your teeth have become discoloured.

Food that Stain Teeth – What’s in Them?

Certain types of food and drinks have substances in them that over time will cause stains on the teeth. Knowing what these are and where they are found in high concentration will help us take care of our teeth better and prevent discolouration.

  • Chromogens are substances that form into a dye or a coloured compound when oxidised. They are found in dark pigmented fruits and fruit juices such as blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, pomegranates and beetroot. Dark coloured sauces including soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and tomato sauce will also cause tooth pigmentation.
  • Tannins or tanoids are some type of astringent found in many plants that bind proteins and other organic compounds. The presence of tannins in commonly consumed beverages makes it easier for stains to stick to teeth. Tea, coffee and red wine are high in tannins, which explains why people who drink them more often end up with discoloured teeth.
  • Acids in food and drinks erode the tooth’s protective enamel layer, exposing the underlying dentin, which results in yellowing of the teeth over time. Regular intake of acidic food and drinks such as soda, lemonade, white or red wine and energy drinks have been linked to unwanted tooth stains caused by acid wear.
  • Colouring agents in certain processed foods can also cause teeth discolouration. Food colouring in many sweets, candies, icypoles and slurpee drinks can not only lead to an increased instance of tooth decay but have also been linked to discolouration.

blonde woman with a cup of coffee

Home Remedies to Prevent Tooth Discolouration

Now that you are aware of the types of food that stain teeth, it can be very difficult to avoid them altogether!

We know that sugary or acidic drinks should only be consumed occasionally as a treat, but there are benefits to drinking tea, coffee and red wine that some people find impossible to resist. However, there are some steps you can take to minimise the havoc they wreak on your pearly whites.

Here are some helpful tips to consider:

  • Consume less tooth-staining foods and drinks, ensuring your intake is minimal.
  • Have more milk with your coffee or tea.
  • Use a straw when drinking dark coloured fruit juices to reduce the chance if it touching your teeth.
  • Brush and clean between your teeth within half an hour of consuming food and drink that are known to stain teeth. If this is not possible, rinse teeth and mouth thoroughly with water and chewing gum with xylitol can also help.
  • Use whitening agents, creams and strips. It’s important that you don’t overuse these products as they tend to cause tooth erosion that will destroy your protective enamel if not used as directed.

Seek Professional Help from Your Oral Health Therapist

If prevention tips and home remedies don’t budge those tough stains, seek professional help. Your dentist or oral health therapist can perform a professional dental clean to remove plaque as well as teeth stains, which is a great confidence booster and can also prevent tooth decay. Contact us at Coburg Hill Oral Care on (03) 9041 5301 to book an appointment.