We would all like to have white teeth. Not only is it a priority of the culture, but it also signals health and vitality. Plus, a great smile helps create good first impressions when we meet new people.
Unfortunately, not everyone has white teeth, but it is not always the result of poor hygiene. Mostly, it’s just the foods that we eat.
Fruits and vegetables contain chemicals called tannins. These are chemicals that give the foods that we eat their characteristic color.
Plants use these pigments to signal to bees and protect themselves from the environment. But they’re also dyes – and that’s the point at which your teeth can get into trouble. When you eat these foods month after month, year after year, they eventually incorporate themselves into the enamel, causing it to look duller and browner.
The good news, though, is that a lot of this discoloration is superficial. Clinics like DentEssential, for instance, point out that you can usually get rid of this with a single visit to the hygienist.
But what about the six months between visits? What can you do to avoid stains then and keep your teeth white year-round?
The answer is simple: avoid the highest-tannin foods! Or if you can’t, blend them up and drink them through a straw, bypassing your teeth.
Sorry all you coffee lovers out there, but the world’s favorite drink is one of the leading causes of tooth discoloration. Tannins from the coffee bean have a nasty habit of incorporating themselves into the tooth enamel and turning your gnashers brown over time.
The heat of coffee makes this problem worse. The high temperature softens the enamel and makes it more prone to infiltration.
So what’s the solution here? Should you avoid coffee altogether?
Avoiding coffee won’t do you any harm – and it might do you some good if you drink cup after cup of the stuff. But you can avoid going without by drinking your coffee through a straw. No – it’s not the done thing, and it looks a little strange, but it does help keep your pearly whites white.
Citrus fruits are delicious, but here again, you need to be careful. Oranges, lychees, and the rest all contain abundant tannins that can make their way onto your teeth.
Fortunately, you can quickly whip these fruits up into a smoothie and use the straw method to guzzle them.
Berries are high in anthocyanins – cyan-colored pigments that make your mouth look purple after you eat them.
As you might expect, these phytochemicals can stain, so it is critical to rinse your mouth out after you eat berries.
All teas have a nasty habit of coloring your teeth, but green tea is one of the most insidious. It looks relatively benign, but don’t let its soothing green color fool you. This drink is chock full of chemicals that color your teeth and make them go brown.
So, there, you have it: some of the foods that you should avoid if you want white teeth. Keep your diet simple and be wary of particularly colorful menu items.