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The yellowing or staining of teeth is not just a problem for the older generation but for younger patients as well. There are many foods that will lead to the staining of your teeth – which is causing us to see stained teeth more and more among adolescents and children.

There are three primary culprits that cause tooth staining.

  • Chromogens – Chromogens are compounds in your food and drink that cause deep pigmentation and easily stick to your tooth enamel.
  • Tannins – Tannins are plant-based substances that are in drinks and easily stick to your teeth, and help chromogens adhere better to your teeth too.
  • Acids – Any food that is acidic will wear away the protective surfaces of your teeth, and will make it easier for chromogens and tannins to do damage.


What foods and habits lead to tooth stains?

  • Food Dye – Dentists recommend that you avoid brightly colored candy, ice pops and sweetened drinks, including colored sports drinks.  Food coloring is an aggressive coloring and will adhere to white enamel and any exposed root surfaces. 
  • Soft Drinks – If you drink cola over time you may notice your teeth yellowing.  This is because soda is very acidic and dark cola contains chromogens. Clear soda also may result in staining of your teeth because many of the lemon-lime flavors contain acids too at the same level as dark, regular or diet soda. Coffee, tea, red and white wine also may lead to teeth yellowing.  Tea and coffee contain tannins, and wine -both red and white- are very acidic which leads to teeth stains.
  • Fruits and Berries – Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are high in chromogens as well as tomatoes, cherries, grapes and pomegranates.  Any food that will stain your clothes will stain your teeth.


What habits should be part of a regular oral health routine to help prevent tooth staining?

  • Brush your teeth right after eating – If you brush your teeth with toothpaste with a little whitening agent after your final cup of coffee for the day for example, this will help keep your smile bright. 
  • Rinse your mouth – If you are unable to brush your teeth after you eat or drink, swish some water in your mouth to remove some of the material left behind.
  • Use a straw – Straws protect your teeth since they pull liquids inside your mouth and away from your teeth.
  • Go to the dentist for regular cleanings – Make sure to visit your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings to help keep your teeth polished, which reduces the amount of stains.

Schedule your next cleaning and checkup today to help you maintain a healthy and bright smile for years to come.  Dr. Melchers and his experienced staff are here to address all your oral health care issues.  Contact us today at info@oldmtpleasantdentistry.com to see how we can best meet your dental care needs.