5 Foods That Stain Your Teeth

Nothing quite catches your eye like a bright, white smile.

From lifted confidence to better dentist checkups, keeping your pearly whites healthy can have tangible, positive effects on your everyday life. But while expensive treatments and sticky whitening strips can help alter the color of your teeth, keeping your mouth healthy by brushing and flossing daily—in addition to avoiding certain foods—can help prevent that dreaded yellowing in the first place.

If you’re on a quest for a beaming smile and want to avoid taking drastic measures to get there, take note of these stain-causing foods.
1. Berries

We love berries but have some bad news when it comes to your beauty goals. Due to their darker hues, berries may actually cause staining of the teeth when eaten regularly. To fight against the stains, consider brushing right after you enjoy your berries. “Make sure you’re brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using fluoride. Fluoride strengthens your teeth against those acid attacks caused by eating,” says Dr. Kim Harms, spokesperson for the American Dental Association. This is important after you munch on something like berries or popcorn, in which particles can easily get stuck between your teeth. Because honestly, berries are awesome; they’re one of the 15 Most Antioxidant-Packed Foods!

2. Coffee

Your morning cup of joe might not be negotiable in your mind, but if your teeth have been looking a bit dull lately, that latte might very well be the reason why. Coffee contains acidic polyphenols called tannins that can lead to staining and discoloration. Plus, coffee is also very acidic to the body and acidic foods can be more harmful to your oral health and lead to tooth decay.

3. Tea

We adore tea at ETNT—so much so that we created The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse with food journalist Kelly Choi. (Test panelists lost about to 10 pounds in a week!) But there’s a caveat to all those tea benefits; tea can have stain-causing tannins. Plus, the frequency of your sipping on that brew matters, too. “One thing that people don’t realize is that, when it comes to cavity formation for your teeth, it’s not just what you’re eating, but how often you’re eating it,” says Harms. If you’re constantly sipping on coffee or tea throughout the day, you’re more prone to discoloration and acid attacks on your teeth. To fight against tea stains, research published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene says to add a little milk to your cup! The casein in milk was found to significantly prevent and reduce tea-induced stains.

4. Red Wine

Those same troublesome tannins exist in your favorite glass of vino, too. However, there are ways to enjoy the benefits of wine and alcohol and keep your smile radiant. Pair your glass of Pinot Noir with a handful of almonds to help counteract staining. Experts believe that simply the act of chewing hard foods like nuts can help scrub away plaque from teeth and mitigate staining. Chewing them can also help stimulate saliva which may neutralize those harmful acid attacks.

5. Curry

Feeling Indian food tonight? Although the exotic spices may take your tastebuds for a ride, those same flavorings may also tint your teeth, thanks to their deep pigmentation. The best way to prevent staining here is to make curry an “every once in awhile” treat; your still-glowing teeth will thank you.

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