Top 10 Teeth Stainers

Those pearly whites you've been flashing for decades may have taken on a bit of color over the years.

Unless you're a smoker or have used certain medications (the antibiotic tetracycline is a known tooth stainer), most likely you've indulged in at least some of these drinks:

1.   Coffee
2.   Tea
3.   Red wine
4.   Cola
5.   Cranberry juice

You might not expect the following items to cause staining, but evidence shows that they do. Generally speaking, if it stains your fingers, it will stain your teeth:

6.   Blueberries
7.   Soy sauce
8.   Balsamic vinegar
9.   Tomato sauce
10. Curry

At this point, you may be tempted to give your diet a complete overhaul and only consume white foods. But most of the foods and drinks that color your teeth actually are considered healthy.

You've no doubt heard the advice to pick your foods from all colors of the rainbow. The very pigments that cause your teeth to be stained are the ones that provide a hefty dose of vitamins and disease-fighting antioxidants. Anyway, who among us is willing to forgo the simple pleasure of that morning cup of coffee or relaxing glass of wine with dinner?

As teeth naturally take on color as they age, and as so many delicious and nutritious foods and drinks can cause staining, you might consider whitening your teeth. The simplest, least expensive way to do this is to buy whitening toothpaste. These toothpastes scrub away surface staining without changing the natural color of teeth. They're mildly abrasive and have few downsides.

A more aggressive course of treatment is to bleach your teeth. You can have your dentist do this, or you can do it at home. The dentist will apply a bleaching agent to your teeth, often using a special light or laser to enhance the whitening. If you choose to do it yourself, you'll wear a specially fitted mouth guard filled with a peroxide mixture. Sometimes these are worn overnight. While most people achieve the desired results with bleaching, there are risks. People with sensitive teeth may find that the bleaching process aggravates their condition. Mouth guards can irritate the gums. And if you have tooth-colored fillings, they won't respond to the bleaching, possibly leaving you with unevenly colored teeth.




American Dental Hygienists' Association. "Tooth Whitening Systems." Web.

American Dental Association. "Tooth Whitening." Web.