What Stains Teeth? Fact or Fiction...

Oct 2, 2015 1:00:00 PM Amy Covington White Teeth, Food & Drink

What Stains Teeth?
Coffee, tea, red wine, tobacco. We know these stain teeth. But what other foods and beverages can cause teeth to become discolored that you may not know about? Let’s take a look at the facts and the fiction surrounding this topic.

First of all, it’s important to understand the science of what causes teeth to become stained. Foods that are vibrant in color contain chromogens, which are intensely pigmented molecules that like to attach to tooth enamel. But chromogens aren’t the only things that can discolor teeth. Acidity is another culprit. Acidic foods aren’t always bright in color, so they’re harder to spot as offenders. Acidic foods and drinks stain teeth by wearing down enamel, making it softer and more vulnerable to staining from other sources.

Tannins are another promoter of tooth discoloration. Tannins are food compounds that boost chromogens’ ability to attach to enamel. Red wine contains tannins, which comes from grape skins. So, not only is it rich in chromogens, the tannins help them along as they stain your teeth.

Okay, now let’s sort out fact from fiction:


White wine doesn’t stain teeth: FICTION

While white wine lacks the tannins contained in red wine, it still contains staining acid that attacks tooth enamel, making it more absorbent to food color.


Some whitening products CAN erode tooth enamel: FACT

Some whitening products are slightly acidic to allow for longer shelf life (biggest culprit is tray based whitening products) and many toothpastes contain harsh abrasives to rid of stains, but these products also breakdown tooth enamel. Once enamel is gone, there's no real way to repair it. Be sure to research your whitening product before purchasing. One great thing about Luster products is that they are not acidic and do NOT use harsh abrasives, but instead are formulated by dentists to not to break down your enamel. They are also tested to make sure the level of enamel on the tooth remains unchanged from before using the products to after. Check out the "Luster Way" to find out more behind the science behind these products.


Fruit is good for you, so it can’t harm teeth: FICTION

Yes, fruit is good for you but because many fruits (brightly colored fruits in particular) contain chromogens they can discolor your teeth. These include blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes, pomegranates and the foods and beverages made with them. We’re not saying to avoid them altogether but you may want to rinse or brush after consuming them. One berry that actually helps whiten teeth: Strawberries. Strawberries' malic acid content is a natural astringent that actually helps remove superficial staining. 


Lighter colored soft drinks and sports drinks won’t stain my teeth: FICTION

Regardless of color, carbonated beverages have an acidity similar to battery acid, which weakens enamel over time. So, avoid the urge to sip on sodas all day long. Some popular sports drinks also are highly acidic and can soften enamel and lead to discoloration.


Using a straw can help prevent teeth staining: FACT

Drinking through a straw will help prevent dark and acidic liquids from coming into contact with your teeth.


Rinsing with water or mouthwash right after eating or drinking can help prevent my teeth from staining: FACT

Brushing your teeth regularly and immediately after consuming offending foods and beverages is your best defense. If you can’t always brush, try to keep some mouthwash in your desk at work or in your bag. In the very least, rinse with water to help loosen food particles and wash away staining substances.


What to do if you've yellowed more than you realized?
Use Luster Pro Light Dental Whitening System to reverse years of stains in just 30 minutes.

ProLightBox_white teeth


Luster Pro Light will get you back to your youthful smile by lifting surface and deep stains. It uses the only safe whitening ingredient - active dental peroxide - with NO harsh abrasives. So yes, it is enamel safe. Before using Pro Light, Luster clinically tested the enamel level of patients then tested it again after using the system. The result? The enamel level remained unchanged. Pro Light also causes ZERO TOOTH SENSITIVITY, so you can whiten with confidence. 



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