There’s nothing quite like a bright, white smile to make you smile wide, but for many of us, discolouration and stains are a cause for concern.
While there are a number of factors that contribute to discolouration — genetics, some medications, smoking, and the natural ageing process, for example — it also turns out that some foods and drinks play a role in the development of stains. Here are some of the things that could be dulling your smile…
- Coffee and tea
Coffee is a favourite (dare we say, essential) drink for so many of us, but unfortunately it is one of the culprits when it comes to tooth discolouration and stains. The enamel on our teeth contains very small pits and ridges that can hold tiny pigments from coffee. These pigments can become imbedded, causing stains on the surface of the teeth. Similarly, some teas can also cause stains, especially those that are high in tannin. Generally, the darker your tea, the more likely it is to cause your teeth to discolour. If giving up your daily dose of tea and coffee is too much to ask, try to enjoy a cup of your favourite hot drink in one sitting, rather than sipping on it throughout the day. When you have finished, rinse your mouth with water, and if you can, brush your teeth to remove any remaining pigment.
- Carbonated soft drinks
Beverages that are high in sugar and acid are not good for the overall health of your teeth, as they can cause cavities and decay. Plus, dark drinks like cola can also lead to tooth discoloration. The dark compounds in these drinks cause surface stains, and over time, the enamel on the teeth can actually absorb the compounds, causing yellowing. Carbonated drinks aren’t the only beverages that can cause this problem — red wine and juices that are highly pigmented, like red grape, pomegranate, and cranberry also contain dark compounds that can stain your enamel. Try to reduce your consumption of these drinks as much as possible for the sake of your teeth.
- Dark sauces
While balsamic vinegar makes a tasty salad dressing, its dark colour and natural acidity can stain your teeth. Similarly, dark sauces like soy can also lead to discolouration. While these sauces have the potential to stain your teeth, they can be enjoyed in moderation. Use them sparingly and brush your teeth after eating.
- Some fruits and vegetables
Dark berries like blueberries and blackberries are highly pigmented, which means that they can leave dark stains behind. It’s important to remember, however, that you don’t need to avoid healthy foods like these completely — rather, rinse your mouth out with water to remove particles from your mouth after eating them.
Other fruits and vegetables that could stain your teeth include beetroot, tomatoes, and pomegranates. Don’t deny yourself nutrients from these healthy ingredients — rinse your mouth after eating them, and then try and brush your teeth within an hour of eating to help prevent staining.
So, what can be done?
Besides limiting your intake of these foods and drinks, proper oral hygiene also goes a long way in keeping your smile bright. But, if you’re still not satisfied, you might consider a teeth whitening treatment. The bleaching process lightens discolouration of the enamel and dentin, giving an average improvement of up to eight shades.
We offer the Zoom! in-office procedure, which takes less than an hour to complete. During the procedure, you are welcome to watch TV or listen to music to pass the time. If you would like to find out more about what the process involves, have a look here.
To make an appointment, call us on 1300 2 83384 or book one online.