What Stained My Teeth?
It seems that every week a new study comes out reporting either the benefits or pitfalls of our favorite beverages. Coffee? One week it’s touted as the best thing since fruit and vegetables. Then, the next study out crashes it back down to practically poison. As for tea, it’s hard to keep track of whether black tea, green tea, white tea or herbal tea will either put a perk in our step or put us sooner six feet under. And the long-favored fermented grape juice? The medical news on the fruitage of the vine is enough to make one cheer one month and whine the next.
Rest assured that medically speaking, unless your doctor directly advises you to stay away from any of the above beverages, they are likely just fine if you take them in moderation. For the dentists at the Sacramento Dentistry Group, our keen interest is in how your daily drinks affect your teeth. While some beverage choices (like sugary and acidic sodas) are downright harmful to your teeth, other drinks, like the three mentioned above, contribute to a less than stellar smile.
Your tooth enamel is incredibly strong, but it’s not incredibly smooth. The surfaces of teeth, whether healthy or not, have tiny ridges and pits that grab hold of microscopic food and drink particles. This puts your teeth in the crosshairs of substances that stain, dull, and yellow your otherwise healthy smile. Let’s look at a few of the major culprits and what can be done to keep your smile looking its best.
Coffee Enamel Stains
Whether hot or cold, black or sweet, coffee contains highly pigmented substances. Adding creamers or milk doesn’t make those pigments disappear. Simply put, your morning, afternoon or evening coffee habit causes yellowing, staining and dulling of your tooth enamel. While not detrimental to your dental health, these stains build up slowly over time until one day you may notice that you have “coffee smile,” and it’s not “grande.” Yellow teeth have a “latte” not to love.
Tea Enamel Stains
Tea also contains pigments that are capable of staining your tooth enamel, with the overall staining power depending on the variety. Examine what your hot beverages do to your ceramic coffee mugs and tea pots, and you get an idea of what might be happening to your teeth. The darker the tea, the darker the tooth stains. That applies to both tea made with tea leaves and non-caffeinated teas from fruits or flowers, like berries and hibiscus.
Wine Enamel Stains
After you drink red wine, do you get “wine teeth” – that distinctive red-stained smile as if you’ve just been cast in a vampire movie? You may experience this effect due to plaque, the sticky residue created by oral bacteria. Plaque on teeth acts like glue to the pigments in red wine (and other drinks), helping them “stick around” long after you’ve enjoyed your glass with dinner. So if you’re going wine tasting, make sure to brush your teeth first for a better smile!
The Solution for Tooth Stains
With all this said, the dentists at the Sacramento Dentistry Group do not want you to give up on your tea, coffee, or wine. Instead, on your next visit for a dental cleaning, talk to our dental hygienist about any beverage or food stains you’ve developed on your teeth. If they cannot be removed by a thorough cleaning, our staff takes the next step — offering professional tooth whitening that is guaranteed to give you back the white teeth you prefer.