Foods and drinksAnything that can stain your white shirt has the potential to stain your teeth. Intensely colored foods and beverages tend to be the meanest culprits.
- Coffee and tea. It may seem impossible to let go of something that has become second nature to you like your morning coffee or tea. If there’s zero chance of kicking the habit, we recommend rinsing your mouth thoroughly or brushing your teeth after a cup to prevent nasty stains clinging to your teeth. If you carry around a tumblerful and sip coffee throughout the day, you may want to consider setting out specific caffeine breaks instead.
- Soda, wine and sports drinks. By virtue of their color and acidity, these too are notorious for discoloring your teeth. Their acidity softens up your teeth’s enamel and actually set up the stage for staining. Also, remember not to brush your teeth for up to 30 minutes after the consumption of an acidic food or beverage. Here’s why.
- Sauces. Deeply-colored (and highly appetizing) sauces like tomato sauce and curry sauce pose significant threats to your pearly whites.
- Berries including juices, pies and berry-flavored treats. Notice how berries (cranberries, blueberries, pomegranates) leave funky shades on your tongue? They can do the same to your teeth. But berries are great antioxidants so you don’t have to shun them altogether. Just remember to rinse or brush after having a snack or a meal.
Poor oral hygieneIneffective oral hygiene combined with enamel-staining food and drinks can give your teeth a double whammy. Regular twice-a-day brushing, flossing and professional cleaning keep your teeth clean and reduce staining.
SmokingTar and nicotine stain the teeth. The longer you smoke, the more stain builds-up on your enamel. Smoking causes bad breath, gum disease and oral cancer. Add unsightly looking teeth to the ever-growing list of reasons why smokers should quit the deadly habit.
Diseases, treatments and medicationsCertain genetic disorders and diseases (like celiac disease and dentinogenesis imperfecta) cause teeth discoloration. Medical treatments like chemotherapy and head and neck radiation are also known to stain teeth, and so do medications like antihistamines, antipsychotics and antihypertensives. Tetracycline and doxycycline are known to discolor teeth when given to children whose teeth are still developing (before age 8).
AgeOur teeth tend to darken as we age. The outer layer of our enamel wears away, exposing the natural yellow color of our dentin.
GeneticsGenes influence the color of our teeth. Some people have naturally whiter enamel than others.