While cigarettes often get a bad rap for making teeth yellow, there are actually plenty of other things we consume on a daily basis that do even more damage to our pearly whites. Beverages have a particularly nasty effect on our teeth because we 1). drink them all the time, 2). they stick to our teeth long after we’ve consumed them, and 3). we are more likely to skip brushing our teeth (again) after consuming them late at night (oh, come on…you know it’s true).
When it comes to teeth-staining beverages, coffee is definitely the leader of the pack. But if you love coffee, then what’s the solution? You can start by reducing the amount that you drink; that’s obvious. But you could also just take a few seconds to drink some water after each cup of coffee. Swish it around your mouth and spit it out and you’re done. That way the coffee won’t be sitting on your teeth for hours at a time.
Coffee may be the king of the teeth stainers, but tea isn’t far behind, and we’re not just talking about black tea. Green tea and other lighter teas can do it too. And remember that discoloration on the teeth isn’t always due to stains. The bacteria that live in your mouth will eat away at your teeth, causing decay and discoloration, so almost any beverage can contribute to the problem. Lemon-lime soda is totally clear, but if it sits on your teeth all day it can cause problems.
The post-coffee-water-swishing strategy above will work just fine with tea as well. You can try cutting your tea with a little water too, or maybe you could just take the bag out sooner. Just keep in mind that the stronger and darker the tea, the more it will stain your teeth. And any sugar, honey, or creamer added to your tea will contribute to tooth decay and discoloration too.
3. DARK-COLORED SODA
Switch to lemon-lime. Can’t live without that caffeine? Switch to Mounain Dew or a clear cola (Clear Pepsi was a bust, but you can still find natural sodas without all the dark coloring). Problem solved, kinda (it’s still got sugar in it).
4. RED WINE
You’ve known since you were a kid that grape juice would stain your clothes, but you never put one and one together to figure out that wine will stain stuff too? Well, now you know.
5. FRUIT JUICES
And speaking of grape juice and its magical clothes-staining abilities…yes, it stains teeth too. The same is true of any dark fruit juices with blueberries, cranberries, etc. Pomegranate juice is a teeth killer too. But fruit juices – especially those made from berries – are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and other good stuff to keep your body healthy. So, as with coffee and tea…try cutting your fruit juice with a little water and also rinse your mouth with a quick swish of water when your done drinking juice. That will keep it from setting on your teeth until you have a chance to brush.