How eating and drinking can discolour your teeth

How eating and drinking can discolour your teeth

Most of us aspire to have brighter, whiter teeth, which are often considered more attractive and a sign of good health.

But the food and drink you consume each day can stain your teeth and dull your smile.

Stained teeth can make you feel embarrassed and self conscious, but there are things you can do to prevent discolouration.

What does tooth staining look like?

Stained teeth can have a yellow or grey appearance. Some of this yellowing is natural and happens as we age.

You may also notice yellow/brown patches or lines.

There are two main types of tooth staining:

  • Extrinsic stains, which form on the surface of the teeth
  • Intrinsic stains, which form below the surface.

Intrinsic stains can be a sign of a deeper problem and should be investigated by your dentist.

What causes tooth staining?

In our foods and drinks, there are three main culprits:

  • Acids, which soften and roughen your tooth enamel, making it easier for stains to take hold
  • Chromogens: highly coloured chemical compounds that cling to your tooth enamel
  • Tannins: plant-based compounds that enable stains to stick.

Which foods stain your teeth?

Foods with deep, dark and rich colours are the most likely to stain your teeth.

They include things like:

  • Artificial food colourings and dyes
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Beetroot
  • Berries
  • Curries
  • Soy sauce
  • Tomato-based sauces.

Which drinks stain your teeth?

Drinks that are darker in colour and contain tannins.

They include things like:

  • Red wine 
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Cola
  • Dark fruit juices, such as cranberry and red grape.

Will avoiding these things keep my teeth whiter?

Avoiding the items listed can help to prevent staining.

But some these foods and drinks have important nutritional benefits, so it’s best not to cut them out of your diet all together. 

What else can I do to prevent my teeth staining?

  • Try switching from regular tea to a herbal tea
  • Add more milk to your coffee
  • Practise good oral hygiene and brush your teeth after each meal 
  • If you can’t brush your teeth, rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar-free gum
  • Floss daily to remove particles between your teeth
  • See your hygienist regularly for a professional clean.

What if my teeth are already stained?

To remove existing stains, we offer a professional teeth whitening service, carried out by a registered dentist.

The procedure offers safe, long lasting results and can make your existing tooth colour up to eight shades lighter. 

Questions about teeth whitening?

If you would like to find out more about our professional teeth whitening service and see if it’s right for you, Dr Saigal will be happy to advise you.

Please contact the practice on 0116 2707 300 to book an appointment.