5 Surprising Habits That Stain Your Teeth

African American man smiling with white teeth(BlackDoctor.org) — Part your lips, expose a bright teeth and you can be a showstopper. Part your lips and reveal dingy, stained teeth and you can also get attention, but it’s probably not the type you want.

When thinking of dental stains, smoking may be the first thing that comes to mind. Tobacco use certainly is a culprit, but it is far from being the only one. Knowing the others are can help you avoid staining your smile.

What You Drink

Coffee is another well known cause of dental stains. Yet, fewer people recognize tea as a problem. Black tea, the worst offender in its family, has a love-hate relationship with your teeth. It promotes oral health in some ways, such as fighting bacteria and plaque, but it also causes discoloration. Green and white teas can also have some negative effects on tooth color, but the risk is much lower.

Red wine can also rob your teeth of their shine. This is another beverage that both helps and hurts oral ambitions. On one hand, its’ polyphenols protect the teeth from bacteria and help prevent periodontal disease, but its dark coloring can have major stain producing effects.

Also know that acid and sugar are not friends with your teeth, but they are common ingredients in a lot of beverages. As a result, there are a number of other drinks to be cautious of if you want a bright smile. These include:

• Carbonated beverages
• Citrus fruit juices
• Energy drinks
• White wine
• Sports drinks
• Teas

The discoloration caused by sugar and acid are not truly stains. These ingredients erode enamel, a tooth’s shiny outer covering. When the enamel gets thin, dentin, the second layer of a tooth, becomes visible. Dentin can range from gray to yellow and when exposed it makes teeth look dingy and stained.

What You Eat

You probably know you need to eat fruits and vegetables, but it may benefit you to also know which ones cause dental stains. Items such as beets, cherries, and blueberries are commonly touted for their nutritional benefits. What is less often said is that regular consumption of colorful fruits and vegetables can take a toll on your teeth’s brightness.

Other items that you need to be aware of are balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Both of these are highly pigmented and made in a way that makes them prone to stick to your teeth. Also, watch out for curry and tomato sauce. They both pose risks of staining and tomato sauce is highly acid and may contain a lot of sugar.


Chemicals in pool water, such as chlorine, protect you from water borne illnesses, but they can also wreck havoc on your teeth if you swim a lot. They can stain your teeth yellowish-brown, erode the enamel, and cause swimmer’s calculus, a build-up of brown tartar. This will not happen as a result of a random day in the pool or hot tub. People who experience these problems are generally regulars in the water.

Dental Care

Brushing your teeth is one of the most important acts of oral care… when you do it properly. But, poor habits, such as brushing too aggressively, using a firm toothbrush, and using abrasive toothpaste can aggravate the problems that you try to prevent. These are all additional causes of enamel erosion.

How To Protect Your Smile

You probably won’t stop eating and drinking all of your favorite items, but you should consider doing so in moderation. You can also reduce their adverse effects by using a straw. Since lettuce and spinach create protective layers over the teeth, consume these items before those that cause stains if you can. When you are eating or drinking, avoid swishing the culprits around or holding them in your mouth to savor the flavor. Swallow quickly, rinse your mouth with water after you’re finished, and brush as soon as possible.

Your toothbrush is letting you are know that you putting too much muscle into the job if the bristles are flattened and spread out. Also remember to use a soft toothbrush, avoid long-term use of abrasive toothpastes, and visit your dentist regularly.

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