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Foods That Stain Your Smile

Your food and beverage choices can affect your smile for years to come. Dr. Kristine Houck Morris, your Easton, MD, dentist, shares dental stainssome information on foods that stain teeth and explains how teeth whitening treatments can transform your smile.

How do foods and beverages stain teeth?

Your tooth enamel may look smooth, but it actually contains tiny pits and openings that can absorb the pigments in foods. Unfortunately, brushing alone isn't enough to remove stains.

Dark foods and beverages

Have you ever spilled wine on a tablecloth or dribbled some cola on a white tee shirt? Those stains were probably very difficult to remove. Any dark or bright food or beverage that can stain a white cloth can also stain your teeth, including:

  • Coffee
  • Black tea
  • Cola
  • Red wine
  • Cherries, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries
  • Red grapes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Popsicles
  • Candy and Gum

Tea: a double threat

Black tea (in both hot and cold forms) contains dark pigments that stain teeth, but also contains tannins. These plant-based compounds make it easier for the dark pigments in tea to stick to your teeth. If you're a tea drinker and concerned about the effects of tannins, consider a switch to white or green teas.

Acidic foods create the perfect environment for stain formation

Foods and beverages that contain acids don't always cause stains, but may make your teeth more susceptible to staining. Acids soften tooth enamel, making it easier for stains to penetrate the enamel. Acidic foods include:

  • Lemons, oranges and other citrus foods
  • Lemonade and lemon-lime drinks
  • Tomatoes, ketchup, salsa and other tomato-based products
  • White wine
  • Soda
  • Coffee
  • Pickles

Teeth whitening brightens your smile

Professional teeth whitening agents penetrate your tooth enamel to remove the stains that dull your smile. You can expect to see a three to eight shade difference after one treatment in Easton. If you have particularly stubborn stains, you may need an additional treatment. After your teeth are whitened, you'll want to avoid or limit the foods and beverages that stain your teeth. If you do, you can expect your results to last for at least two or three years.

Teeth whitening is a simple way to brighten your smile! Call Dr. Morris, your Easton, MD, dentist, at (410) 770-9211 to schedule your whitening appointment.

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