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Stained Teeth: Don’t Hide Your Smile!

March 29, 2021
Posted By: Bryant Anderson, DMD
couple together smiling

Stained Teeth: Don’t Hide Your Smile!

It’s hard enough that we have to hide our smiles behind our masks while we’re out and about. Don’t let stained teeth make you want to hide your smile once the mask comes off! Read on to find out some of the most common causes for stained teeth, and some great prevention tips. Just try not to blow out the camera on your laptop when you flash your pearly whites on that next Zoom meeting.

Main Causes for Stained Teeth

Most of us are aware of those notorious foods and beverages that seem to really put some color on our teeth. Hot cup of black coffee in the morning? We’re looking at you. But there are far more dietary sources for stain than you might think.

Okay, coffee, tea, red wine, these are the main offenders. However, berries (especially blackberries and blueberries), curry, tomato-based sauces, even raw greens can all stain your teeth. In fact, anything with rich, deep pigment can cause stain. Those cold-pressed juices? Super healthy, but also super colorful. That beet juice can actually turn enamel magenta!

Non-Food Stain Sources

So basically, all the best foods will stain your teeth. But even if you ate nothing but white foods forever (we do not recommend that, by the way), there are other sources for stain waiting for their chance to strike.

Here in Florida, especially in those hot summer months, we actually see an unusual greyish stain that shows up on a lot of kids and very active people. Give up? Chlorine! That’s right, that daily dip in your pool can actually stain your teeth by the start of the new school year.

And of course, there’s the elephant in the room: tobacco products. Cigarettes, cigars, chew, dip, whatever the preferred delivery method, they all cause serious stains. Not to mention a host of other problems, but that’s a topic for another blog. Oh, and yes that other popular smokable product also causes stains. 

An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure

In dentistry, prevention is always preferrable to remediation. This goes for cavities, gum disease, and yes, even stain. However, we would never tell you to cut out coffee completely or deny yourself the pleasure of a great glass of pinot noir. But there are a few simple steps you can take to keep the best things in life from darkening your smile.

  • Practice excellent plaque control. As you read in our previous post, great brushing and flossing habits will protect your oral health. However, they also help prevent stain! Plaque is very sticky. The more plaque you have on your teeth, the more stain will stick. If your enamel is squeaky clean, less color will adhere to it!
  • Rinse well after staining foods and beverages. A vigorous swish with fresh water can rinse away many staining compounds before they have a chance to soak in. So after your tea, your juice, or even after a nice long swim in the pool, have some water! This is especially important after a dark soda, which can not only stain but also decay your teeth.
  • Chew sugar free gum. Similarly to rinsing with water, gum can remove staining compounds before they can soak in. Chewing also stimulates saliva, which further helps to cleanse your teeth and neutralize acids from food. Just make sure it’s sugar free!

Don’t let tooth stain stop you from enjoying life! Taking these few simple steps will help prevent a lot of stain. However, you may still build up a little bit. That’s okay! Your dental team here at Anderson Family Dental can take care of it. Keep up with your regular cleanings as part of your stain control plan. And keep an eye on our blog for upcoming posts about whitening your smile as well!

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