Many of us love to drink red wine or coffee but we equally love our white teeth. Unfortunately the two things don’t always go together! At London Holistic Dental Centre we have witnessed many patients who have been consuming strongly coloured liquids or foods for years and notice their smile start to lose its brilliance. In this blog article we will discuss why and how these types of drinks affect the teeth enamel and also provide you with a few handy tips to keep your teeth white!
Why Does Red Wine or Coffee Stain Your Teeth?
Our tooth enamel undergoes changes as the years pass, for example lines and cracks form on the tooth surface. When we eat or drink substances that contain acids, chromogens (foods with pigments) and tannins, these foods or drinks leave stains behind in these small crevices.
Tannins can be found in red wine, tea and coffee, as we know, but also in a whole list of other foods, such as grapes, pomegranates, berries, chocolate, and even things like rhubarb, squash, chickpeas and beans. This is not to say that we mustn’t eat these very nutritious foods if we want our teeth to stay white, but if we can identify them we can take steps to prevent them doing their worst. Another thing to avoid is artificially brightly coloured food such as sweets, ice lollies and coloured soft drinks. Berries, cola, tomato and curry sauces can be very highly coloured too. The food dye in them is quite aggressive and easily transfers to your teeth.
Which is Worse for Your Teeth – Tea or Coffee?
It may surprise you that although our beloved morning coffee, which is high in chromogens and acid, is in fact not as bad as tea. Britain’s favourite beverage is slightly worse for the colour of our enamel with higher levels of tannins. Likewise, red wine contains lots of tannins and chromogens (as the ruby-red colour suggests) compared to white wine and is highly acidic.
How to Lessen the Staining on your Teeth
It is generally accepted that if a particular food or drink can strain your clothes, it can stain your teeth too. So, what can you do to lessen the staining effect?
Here are four handy changes you can make to your eating and drinking habits to lessen the affects of strongly coloured food and drink:
Tip 1: Enjoy tea and coffee after a meal, rather than having several coffees in the morning
Tip 2: Switch from red to white wine, from a rainbow-coloured ice-lolly to creamy vanilla ice cream
Tip 3: Use a straw for high coloured drinks and don’t let the drink linger in your mouth
Tip 4: Swish with water as soon as possible after consumption and follow with sugar-free gum
What Else Can You Do if Your Teeth Are Stained?
Some staining is unavoidable, unfortunately. We cannot all live on grapefruit, cauliflower, cheese or other colourless foods! The first step, other than implementing the handy diet tips above, is to use an electric toothbrush when cleaning your teeth in the morning and evening.
If you find that staining has become very noticeable and you do not feel comfortable about it, you might consider a tooth whitening treatment. These treatments are effective and safe when carried out under the supervision of an experienced dental practice such as The London Holistic Dental Centre.
At The London Holistic Dental Centre we have a range of great tooth whitening systems including Enlighten deep bleaching and Day White a home tooth whitening system that only needs to be used for 60 minutes daily for 10-14 days. Our aim is to give the best care and help make you confident in your teeth and your smile.