There are plenty of incentives for you to keep your teeth as dazzlingly white as possible. According to research cited by Greatist, whiter teeth can lead you to be deemed more intelligent and socially competent, as well as make you more successful both professionally and personally.
However, certain foods can imperil your efforts to tap into all of these benefits. Here are several foods which can darken your tooth’s enamel and, in this way, lead you to suffer from what Business Insider terms extrinsic discolouration.
Acidic and citrus food
Extrinsic discolouration is so-called to distinguish it from intrinsic discolouration, which affects the tooth’s inner structure known as the dentin. This type of staining isn’t really affected by your food consumption, but you can accidentally expose the dentin if you eat too much acidic and citrus food.
That’s a problem, because such food – like citrus fruits and tomatoes – can, in the process, expose the dentin’s yellow-ish hue, potentially distracting from otherwise white teeth.
Yes, your mother was right – in a sense – when she warned you that eating too many sweets would rot your teeth. However, she probably didn’t enlighten you about the underlying science, where the sugars from sweets attach to your teeth and so give your dental bacteria a hearty meal.
As the bacteria nibbles on these sugars, acids are released, giving rise to tooth decay. Staining, meanwhile, can result from the colour change those sweets give your tongue.
If you love tucking into curry, perhaps as part of Indian food or exotic dishes, be warned that your teeth’s customary whiteness can be punished as a consequence. That’s due to the curry’s deep pigmentation, a culprit for slowly yellowing teeth.
However, you can lessen the effect by mixing fresh apples and carrots into your curry-spiced food, as Colgate advocates, and rinsing your mouth and brushing your teeth shortly after eating.
Like curry, tomato sauce is both highly colour-saturated and acidic. That’s a bit of a problem if you’re fond of pasta, as tomatoes can form a major part of its sauce. Therefore, you might want to consider swapping out tomato sauce for light-coloured or creamy sauces.
If you still feel unwilling to let go of tomato sauce, you could temper its staining effect by eating some dark green vegetables, like broccoli, spinach and kale, beforehand. They will leave your teeth coated with a film that helps to protect them from the tomato’s staining.
You were probably especially disappointed to see these on the list, given their well-publicised health benefits, including antioxidants. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and cranberries are deep-hued, meaning that they can lead to staining even if they are eaten as jelly, jam or a drink.
Mercifully, though, drinking water can counter the staining effect. When you do see staining, a professional treatment, such as teeth whitening from a Ten Dental dentist in Balham, London, could help you to put things right again. Hence, you might not have to completely give up berries.