Yes, skipping that morning brew will help maintain your pearly whites, but did you know that coffee is not the worst offender when it comes to teeth staining?

The rule of thumb has been: if it stains linens, it stains teeth. Any food or drink that is heavily pigmented, even with artificial colouring, is likely to cause set-in stains on the enamel of your teeth.

Although the colour rule holds true, there is more here than meets the eye. A major cause in the yellowing of teeth is due to the level of acidity in the edibles you consume. Enamel is the protective white layer of your teeth. We are born with a thick layer of enamel, which is why our teeth are so white when we are young!

As you age, the acidity of what you eat erodes the enamel, allowing bacteria and sugar to adhere to your teeth, creating plaque, cavities, and damage while also yellowing your naturally white teeth.

Obviously, unless you carry a pH testing kit with you at all times, you won’t know if what you are eating is causing acid erosion. Keep in mind that if it is likely to give you heartburn, its acidity levels are most likely eroding your teeth. Here are some common offenders.

  1. Tea: Black tea, along with other types of tea, have a pH level of up to 6.0, whereas coffee usually averages around 5.0.
  2. White Wine: Wine is naturally acidic and red wine is heavily pigmented. But white wine is both acidic and high in sugar, meaning whatever you eat or drink before your next brush will have extra ammo in destroying your teeth.
  3. Soda: Soda is acidic, sugary, and heavy in food colouring, but drinking diet soda doesn’t mean you’re safe. Diet soda usually has higher acidity levels than regular.
  4. Apples: That’s right; fruit has high levels of acidity and sucrose, which is just a nice way of saying sugar.
  5. Pickled vegetables: Anything pickled is going to have high levels of acidity and, usually, sugar or syrup, as well as spices. All of which are hard on your teeth.
  6. Blueberries: Although the acidity isn’t as high, dark berries stain your fingers and your teeth.
  7. Coloured sauces: This includes curry, soy sauce, tomato-based sauce, and salad dressings. They are full of sugar, spice, and all things not so nice to enamel.
  8. Cough drops: It’s probably more apparent that hard candy is bad for your teeth, but cough drops are basically the same thing, except sometimes more acidic. If it stains your tongue, it stains your teeth.

So what can you eat if even blueberries and apples cause damage? The takeaway is that avoiding foods isn’t the answer. The trick is being aware of the kinds that cause damage. Sipping water intermittently when eating and drinking will rinse the acid and sugar off your teeth. Be sure to rinse your mouth during the day with water.

Brushing twice a day, flossing, and chewing sugar-free gum after meals is also helpful. And, nothing can surpass the importance of seeing your dentist bi-annually to keep the enamel of your teeth strong. If it’s time for your checkup, schedule an appointment with Eastgate Dental Centre at 905-560-2714.