What stains teeth?
Everyone wants white teeth. Well, almost everyone. You do get that one rare person who isn’t too fussed. But white teeth are all the rave, and have been for a while, thanks to our friends on the other side of the Atlantic.
As a result, one of the most common requests I get is ‘Can I have white teeth please??’.
I thought about it the other day and realised, I very rarely get anyone asking me ‘What stains my teeth’.
It is important to know which daily routines and habits can cause staining of your teeth. It’s important for you to know, as this will help to prevent the staining from returning once you have had your stain removal treatment – be it a hygiene clean or any one of the different methods of teeth whitening treatment we have on offer.
So I compiled a list, in no particular order of staining potential.
1. Some mouthwashes can stain your teeth – look out for a chemical called ‘chlorhexidine’ and if your mouthwash has it, it’s going to stain your teeth. Corsodyl is great for treatment of mouth infections, but it contains chlorhexidine, so is very important for patients to know that it will stain your teeth! So next time you are doing your shopping, check the bottle of your mouthwash, and avoid any with chlorhexidine as an ingredient. Beware of the home brand mouthwashes, they tend to contain the chlorhexidine. How about trying an alternative mouthwash, for example Peroxyl, which contains a small amount of peroxide and this releases oxygen when you rinse with it. The bacteria which cause gum disease hate oxygen, and so this helps to keep your gums nice and healthy.
2. Smoking – this is an obvious one, the nicotine and tar from cigarettes will stain your teeth to a lovely yellow-brown tinge. And worse still if you have fillings and crowns these will stain to an extent which is difficult to remove with simple techniques such as hygiene cleaning or teeth whitening. Other stain causing culprits are betel nut, roll ups, cigars and marijuana, all best avoided if you want a nice sparkling, healthy looking smile. If you are really keen on quitting, we have a great ‘Give Up Smoking’ programme which we run with our in house hypnotherapist. Get in touch, we can discuss this further.
3. Red, red wine! It’s the tasty mix of tannins, acids and natural dyes in the red wine which work together by etching the tooth surface and causing the staining, there is no way around it. You could try drinking through a straw……..mmmmm…… some how I don’t think the sommeliers out there would approve! The acids in wine make your enamel very soft, so to avoid erosion, be careful to avoid brushing straight after drinking wine. Best to drink lots of water, or rinse with water and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing away the evidence of your red wine sipping marathon. White wine anyone?
4. Tea causes staining, especially green and peppermint tea being contenders. Have you ever left your lovely healthy herbal brew in a white porcelain cup? And checked out the residual staining after? Well the teas have a similar effect on your teeth, especially if you drink them frequently.
5. Coffee also causes staining, especially black coffee. A nice milky latte may be a good way to avoid this staining. So espressos, especially in large quantities, are off the menu!
6. Yummy sauces such as soy sauce and ketchup are all culprits when it comes to staining your teeth, especially if consumed in large quantities. Lighter creamy foods will be less likely to stain your teeth.
7. Curry sauces have turmeric and this causes staining of the teeth. So you may have to look into an alternative late night Friday night 'munchies' stop after your visit to the pub. Kebab anyone?
8. Some sports drinks could be deemed as being acidic, and the acid could leave your teeth more porous and hence more susceptible to staining from some of the colourants which are in your sports drink. Water is always the best drink option for exercising.
9. Fruits and berries such as blueberries and blackberries are highly pigmented, and these too can cause staining of the teeth if consumed frequently and in large quantities. A good way to avoid staining is to mix them up with other fruits which are less staining such as white grapes or white cranberries or melons.
You may find a simple hygiene session will remove staining caused by the above. We have recently introduced our Deluxe Diamond Stain removal hygiene clean – an amazing treatment which uses small particles to clean the teeth and is a great alternative to peroxide based whitening. Or you could try the teeth whitening treatments – the laser teeth whitening or the take home teeth whitening, or as most people do, a combination of the two. But no matter what stain removal treatment you go for, and no matter how good the results, it’s important to remember that it’s all about the maintenance after wards!! Good oral hygiene and being more aware of what causes staining will help you to slow down the rate at which your teeth will re-stain.