Well Being

Health Hack: 12 Foods That Stain Your Teeth

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For last week’s health hack, I shared six foods that are good for your teeth. This week, let’s shift to foods that are bad for your teeth, at least cosmetically. Manhattan dentist Marc Liechtung cited these 12 foods—the dirty dozen of dentistry, if you will—as the worst for staining your pearly whites.

1. Black coffee or tea. “The darker the beverage, the more staining that can occur,” said Liechtung. “Try adding a little extra milk to lighten the color and reduce the staining effect.”

2. Wine. Both red and white wines can be bad for youth teeth. Although red seems the more obvious teeth-stainer, the acidic composition of white wine actually etches tiny grooves in your teeth that make them more porous and easily stained.

3. Colas. Because they are so highly acidic, colas help promote staining by other foods.

4. Berries. Although excellent for your overall health, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, cherries and other berries can stain your teeth. “If you’re crazy for berries, be sure to rinse out your mouth thoroughly with water” after you eat, Leichtung said.

5. Beets. Like berries, beets are good for your body, bad for white teeth. “Now here’s a vegetable that could put a powerful stain in your t-shirt,” said Liechtung. “Like all foods that stain, moderation is called for with this one.” 00

6. Soy sauce. It’s believed to have significant staining potential, Leichtung said.

7. Juice. Highly-pigmented juices like grape, pomegranate and cranberry can cause staining. Try drinking juices through a straw to bypass the fronts of your teeth

8. Pickles. Acidic foods such as pickles and ketchup open pores in your tooth enamel, creating an easy pathway for stains.

9. Balsamic Vinegar. While balsamic vinegar can be a teeth stainer, those who like it on their salads should take heart: Lettuce helps create a natural, protective film over teeth.

10. Candy. Sweets contain teeth-staining coloring agents. “If your tongue turns a funny color, there’s a good chance that your teeth will too,” said Leichtung.

11. Curry. Curry is oh-so-good for you but can be harsh on teeth. Rinse your mouth out with water afterward to get the good without the bad.

12. Popsicles. Not only do popsicles color your tongue, but also your teeth. “Plus, it has added double whammy negative effect produced by all of that sugar,” said Leichtung.

Marc Liechtung is a principle with Manhattan Dental Arts, a New York-based practice that specializes in cosmetic and restorative dentistry.