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Top Foods and Drinks That Cause Your Teeth to Yellow

Teeth whitening, before and after shots

We live in a society where beauty standards are remarkably high. The media puts great emphasis on how people look. For example, many people go to great lengths to have a perfectly white “Hollywood” smile. However, you don’t have to be a movie star to have a magnificent smile. Some are born with one, others seek treatment to get the smile they have always dreamed of. Either way, if you want to keep your smile bright and healthy, there are certain foods and drinks that you should avoid. The wear and tear they have on your teeth, over time, will cause them to turn yellow.

Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?

Tooth enamel is naturally white. However, the layer beneath, dentin, is naturally a more yellow tone. When your enamel wears down it becomes translucent and the dentin becomes visible, making your teeth look yellow. Wear and tear on enamel is unavoidable, which is why elderly people tend to have yellow teeth. It is just a part of the aging process.

Although there is no way to stop aging (although many have tried), you can do your smile a favor along the way by avoiding these enamel staining and damaging foods and drinks:

1 – Tea, Coffee, & Red Wine

Coffee may be your morning pick-me-up, tea may be the perfect way to get warm on a cold winter’s night, and a glass of red wine can enhance the flavor of a home-cooked meal, but the rich color of these dark drinks is damaging to the brightness of your teeth. The outer layer of the tooth is extremely porous, which makes it the perfect surface for absorbing their

intense-dark color. Avoid them if you can, but here is a tip if you must indulge, add a bit of milk to lighten the color (maybe not the wine). Bonus, milk is rich in calcium and vitamin D, which helps keep your teeth strong.

2 – Tomato Sauce

There is nothing better than a plate of delicious pasta smothered in a perfectly seasoned marinara sauce. Unfortunately, tomato-based sauces will do damage to the color of your teeth. Not to worry, next time you make your grandma’s famous lasagna with Bolognese sauce, start with an appetizer of broccoli or spinach. Not only are they both rich in vitamins, they cleverly form a film over your teeth, which protects them from stain-causing foods.

3 – Blueberries & Blackberries

They may be considered superfoods, and are without a doubt rich in antioxidants, but their deep-dark color will wreak havoc on the luster of your smile. Although, they can stain your teeth, berries have healing powers and can be beneficial to your health. If you love these tasty-little morsels, throw them in a smoothie, top your salad with them, or eat them by the handful. Just make sure to either brush your teeth quickly after or, at the very least, swirl water around in your mouth after you’ve eaten them.

4 – Curry

There is no denying that curry is incredibly delicious. The bold flavors are simply unmatched. However, the intense color of curry can be detrimental to the color of your teeth. If you are among the millions of people who simply love a perfectly seasoned chicken tikka masala, make sure you do your best to brush immediately after or rinse your mouth with water.

These foods and drinks made the list because, quite simply, they are everywhere, which makes avoiding them altogether a challenge. But being aware of how they may be affecting the color of your teeth can help you make smart decisions, which will benefit the color of your teeth in the long run. For more information on how to keep your smile healthy, beautiful, and white, contact our office today.


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Written by: Lauren S. - Half Moon Bay, CA