The key to white teeth isn’t just bleaching. Watching what foods go past your teeth is equally important. Coffee and red wine can be darken your smile quickly if you aren’t careful. Both are dark in color, which alone can be enough to stain your teeth if you have weak tooth enamel, and are also very acidic. Acid in these beverages can etch away at your tooth enamel, allowing stains to work in even more. It’s important to note that while white wine doesn’t have the dark color of red, it still is very acidic and can make your teeth vulnerable to stains. Red wine also contains tannins which are molecules in red wine that play a big part in the aging process. Essentially, these molecules want to bind to something and will end up clinging to your teeth.
To prevent stains before they happen, try some of these tips:
1. Don’t ever drink coffee or red wine after whitening your teeth. Teeth are dehydrated and are more sensitive to staining after whitening sessions. Your saliva will rehydrate and re-mineralize your teeth in a short amount of time, but it is best to avoid staining them during this period.
2. Drinking through a straw can help prevent the offending liquid from touching the front of your teeth. Try switching to iced coffee so you can sip it through a straw (hot coffee is also thought to be more staining because the heat opens up the pores in your teeth).
3. Sip water or club soda in between glasses of wine. This can minimize the amount of acid left on your teeth.
4. Eat abrasive foods like apples or celery. The texture can help scrub away the residue before it sets in.
5. Snack on cheese. Cheese can actually act as a barrier and protect your teeth from stains.
6. Chew gum after drinking coffee or wine. Chewing gum makes the mouth produce more saliva which will wash away harmful residue and will re-mineralize your tooth enamel.
7. Wait for at least one hour after you enjoy a glass of wine to brush your teeth. If you brush too soon, you can increase wear-and-tear on your teeth while they’re still reeling from the acidity, which sets you up for stains in the future.
8. Last, but not least, get regular dental cleanings. Teeth that have more plaque and tartar build-up are more susceptible to stains. Clean, smooth teeth are more resilient to staining.