A good oral care routine is the first step towards white teeth, but half of the battle is actually in what you eat and drink. Our Teeth Whitening Kit delivers results of up to 8 shades whiter teeth, but being careful with what you eat during your whitening cycle can make all the difference. To help you get the most out of your HiSmile results, we've listed the top 10 foods that are likely to stain and discolour your teeth.
#1 - Coffee
There's no surprise that the first item on our stain list is coffee (much to our dismay). Coffee beans contain a natural compound known as tannins, the secret ingredient that gives them that dry, bitter taste. Unfortunately, tannins are also the culprit behind the stains and discolouration that come with your morning cup of joe.
Your teeth are porous, meaning that they naturally absorb any food or liquid that you consume. To avoid stains, try drinking your coffee through a straw or a takeaway lid, to limit contact with your teeth. If you take your coffee black, consider adding a dash of milk to lighten the colour, and give your teeth an added kick of calcium.
#2 - Tea
If you've switched to tea after learning that coffee stains your teeth, we have some bad news for you. Like coffee, tea also contains tannins. The darker the tea is, the more likely it is to cause stains. Even herbal and white teas aren't the best, as they can still wear away your enamel and discolour your teeth.
Of course, if you can't give up a warm cup of tea, it's best to move toward lighter blends to minimise the impact of stains. Some dentists even suggest that the higher the quality of tea, the better for avoiding discolouration. Otherwise, consider adding milk, or drinking through a straw or lid to keep your smile in check.
#3 - Wine
Next up on our list of tannin saboteurs is wine. Wine may be responsible for any grey discolouration of your teeth. The bad news is that grey shades are much harder than yellow to correct. The good news is that wine contains a lot of natural antioxidants that detoxify the mouth and help to fight cavities.
So far, we've played by the rule that if a food or drink can stain your clothes, then it can stain your teeth. What you might not know, is that white wine can be as bad for your teeth as red. White wine is a lot more acidic, so while it doesn't directly cause discolouration, it can be responsible for allowing existing stains to sink deeper. There's not a lot of workarounds when it comes to wine, so the best tip to minimise stains is to limit your intake.
#4 - Carbonated Drinks
You can add your favourite soda to the list of drinks to cut back on, thanks to the acids and dyes that they contain. Coca Cola is at the top of the list of culprits, but even lighter coloured drinks can cause stains. All carbonated beverages have acidic properties, which create little holes in the enamel of your teeth.
On top of this, the chemicals used to add flavour can also eat away at your enamel, and encourage further staining from other foods. As with wine, your best course of action is to reduce your intake of carbonated beverages. All good things in moderation!
#5 - Pasta Sauce
Yep, you heard us right - Your favourite pasta may be the cause of those stains. Tomatoes are the main ingredient at blame here, because of their acidity, bright red colour, and tendency to cling to teeth. Unfortunately, anything that is heavily tomato based can stain your teeth. Despite this, tomatoes are high in antioxidants and rich vitamins that your body needs.
To avoid stains, switch to lighter coloured, creamy sauces, and brush and rinse shortly after eating. Or, if you'd rather not skip out on a big bowl of bolognese, you could opt to eat a salad beforehand. Green vegetables like lettuce and broccoli help to create a protective film on your teeth and prevent any tomato stains from settling in.
#6 - Curry Sauce
No surprises here - if pasta sauce causes stains, then curry sauce is just as bad for your teeth. The deep pigmentation of these sauces give Indian dishes their dark colour, as well as causing yellow stains to develop over time.
Because of this, you may want to limit the amount of curry in your diet. Otherwise, mixing in a healthy amount of green veg can help to fight off dark stains and discolouration.
#7 - Soy Sauce
You can add Japanese and Chinese dishes to the list of cuisines that stain teeth, thanks to soy sauce. Any dark sauce or liquid has the potential to stain teeth, but soy sauce is especially potent because of its high concentration.
Additionally, soy sauce contains a high content of sodium. Limiting your intake can be beneficial for not only preventing stains but lowering your blood pressure as well. Seems like a win-win to us!
#8 - Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is a popular alternative to creamy salad dressings and adds a kick to a wide range of dishes. Unfortunately, it joins the list as another dark coloured liquid that stains teeth. Balsamic vinegar also has acidic properties, meaning that it's likely to stick to your teeth and break down enamel.
Consider going easy on the balsamic, or maybe switching to a lighter vinegar to save yourself from stains. If you can't go without, remember to brush and rinse shortly after eating to prevent the liquid from settling in and staining your teeth too much.
#9 - Popsicles and Candy
If you've ever had a popsicle on a hot summer day, you'll know that you end up with your lips and tongue brightly coloured. What you probably don't know is that your teeth are getting just as discoloured. It's a rule of thumb that any candy that makes your tongue change colours can also stain your teeth. If you're desperate for a popsicle, make sure to avoid dark colouring.
The age-old parental tale of too much candy rotting your teeth holds some truth as well. Sugar can latch onto your teeth and attract bacteria within your mouth. When bacteria and sugar get together, they release acids that start to decay your teeth and cause small stains. Despite this, the good news is that unless you eat a lot of sugary treats consistently, they won't do a lot of harm in small doses.
#10 - Fruits and Berries
Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, pomegranates, and most vibrant fruits are up there on the list of foods that can stain your teeth. Like tomatoes, the antioxidants in these fruits have positive health effects, but leave behind dark stains once eaten. When it comes to vibrant fruits, if it's likely to stain your clothes, then the same applies to your teeth.
Because of the rich antioxidants and health benefits associated with these fruits cutting them out of your diet isn't the best option. Instead, make sure to rinse your mouth out after each serving, to lift the colour from your teeth. If all else fails, try finishing with a glass of milk or a portion of cheese, both of which help to strengthen teeth and neutralise acids.
Changing up your diet, and kick-starting some healthy habits could be the key to getting whiter teeth. You don't need to give up your morning coffee or throw out all your pasta sauce, so long as you moderate your intake of the foods and drinks that we've listed above. As always, be sure to stay on top of your brushing and flossing, and stock up on gels for your Kit to get the best whitening results.