Which beverages are the worst for your pearly whites? (Photo: Getty Images)
Before you soak your sashimi with soy sauce or kick back with a glass of Shiraz, consider what your favorite foods may be doing to your teeth. Here, two New York City-based cosmetic dentists weigh in on what foods can cause discoloration, and how to preserve your pearly whites.
1. Black Coffee
If you like your coffee black, you may want to consider adding a little bit of milk to lighten the hue. Not only does the dark color have a tendency to stain your teeth, “coffee can also be dehydrating to the mouth, so there is little saliva produced to wash away the stain,” says Dr. Nancy Rosen, a New York City-based cosmetic dentist.
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Even though these power berries are filled with antioxidants and essential nutrients, the deep blue hue can darken your teeth as well. Instead of popping a handful of ripe blueberries, add them to a yogurt smoothie and enjoy through a straw. The straw prevents the berries from making direct contact with your teeth, so the potential damage is greatly reduced.
(Photo: Getty Images)
The deep red color that makes beets so appealing—especially in a warm beet and goat cheese salad—unfortunately reeks havoc on your pearly whites. Rinsing your mouth immediately afterwards will help wash away the particles that have high staining power.
4. Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates like crackers, cookies, white bread and other processed foods—especially those that are tinged yellow or orange—not only stain your teeth, they may cause cavities. “Processed snacks have a lot of sugar on them, and if the sugar and carbohydrates are left on the teeth for too long, the bacteria in the mouth will feed off of this and cause cavities,” explains Dr. Nancy Rosen.
5. Red Wine
At times, life may compel you to pop open a bottle of red wine (or two!). Don’t act so fast! The intense color and high acidity that characterizes red wine wears off tooth enamel. “The sediments found in red wine contributes to its high staining power, and the fine particles seep into the tooth’s pores,” explains New York City-based cosmetic dentist Dr. Gregg Lituchy of Lowenberg & Lituchy.
Pickles are drenched in vinegar and other highly-acidic ingredients, which make this beloved snack enemy #1 in the eyes of a dentist. If you simply can’t put down the pickle jar, try limiting yourself to just one or two every now and then, and always brush your teeth immediately afterwards.
7. Tomato Sauce
Tomato sauce is another extremely acidic food that makes your teeth susceptible to stains. In order to thoroughly enjoy your pasta, add power veggies such as broccoli or spinach to the sauce to serve as a protective barrier and help lessen the chances of staining.
(Photo: Getty Images)
8. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce’s signature dark color threatens to dull white teeth. On the bright side, you can enjoy wasabi at will. “Wasabi contains isothiocyanates (the same particles that makes wasabi so hot) which inhibits the growth of cavity-causing bacteria,” says Dr. Nancy Rosen.
Curry is sticky and not great for the surface of your teeth,” says Dr. Gregg Lituchy. Curry powder sticks to your teeth the same way that foundation powder clings to your skin. They both lead to a surface change, although in the case of your teeth the tint is uninvited.
Tea contains tannic acids, which are plant-derived chemicals that cause external teeth staining. If you simply can’t give up your daily cup of Chamomile, opt for a more alkaline tea, such as green tea.
By Donna Kim
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