Want to Keep Your Smile Whiter? Avoid Eating and Drinking These Things

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Keeping your smile white and bright takes proper care, including knowing some key substances and beverages to avoid to prevent stains. Limit your intake of these foods and drinks to keep your teeth their brightest.

Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure requested in America, used by nearly 2 in 5 adults — about 40 million people — each year. As more adults seek to improve the appearance of their smiles, this option continues to be requested often; but what else can you do to combat yellowed or stained teeth? 

Prathima Rasamsetty, DDS, and her team at Preva Dental in San Antonio, Texas, help patients to care for their teeth for superior oral health, as well as offer advanced, long-lasting laser whitening treatments to help brighten dingy or stained teeth. 

But what can you do to help your professional teeth whitening treatments last as long as possible? Keep your teeth looking bright and white by limiting your intake of foods and beverages that can cause unattractive stains. Below, we review some of the most offending substances that can stain your teeth. 

Coffee and tea

Coffee and tea are both popular beverages, but they contain pigments that can stain your teeth. Moreover, they also contain acids that temporarily soften the hard enamel coating on your teeth, and this allows the staining pigments to penetrate deeper into your teeth and leave more difficult stains. 

Red wine

Although red wine pairs well with many dishes, it also contains similar staining pigments and enamel softening acids, just like tea and coffee. Another substance in red wine, called tannins, actually helps staining pigments adhere to your teeth, increasing the risk of tough stains. 


While your favorite condiments may not affect your teeth with an occasional serving, regular use of soy sauce, salad dressings, mustard, and others can leave stained hues that build up over time and cause your teeth to appear darker. 

Sodas and energy drinks 

Soda and energy drinks not only contain high amounts of sugars that are bad for your teeth, they are also high in harmful acids that weaken tooth enamel. This allows the dyes and colorings in the drink to leave more of a stain on your teeth.

Dark berries

Blueberries and blackberries are healthy additions to your diet — and they’re delicious — but they also have dark pigments that can stain your teeth. The residue they leave behind can cause serious stains, especially if not rinsed away quickly after eating. 

Tomatoes and tomato products

Tomatoes are another healthy food to add to your diet, but the deep reddish or orange pigments they contain — along with a powerful acid — can leave dark, ugly stains. Tomato sauce is a formidable culprit that causes stains, due to how it clings to your teeth longer, getting in between teeth and along your gumline. 

Artificial coloring

Manufacturers in the food and beverage industry frequently use artificial coloring to make their products appear more attractive. Many natural and artificial coloring substances can stain your teeth, especially those that leave behind a film that is harder to remove. 

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and are an absolute benefit to your health. But citric acid softens your teeth enamel for a period of time immediately after consuming it, making stains easier to penetrate your teeth. 

Good oral care can prevent stains

It isn’t necessary to avoid these foods and beverages entirely — indeed, many offer significant health benefits — just watch what you eat and drink and how often certain staining substances are part of your diet. And of course, rinse your mouth out thoroughly after meals or snacks to help remove harmful acids or dyes. 

In addition, proper oral care habits at home are critical. Brushing and flossing regularly and using proper techniques are essential to remove harmful substances from your teeth. Use a good whitening toothpaste with fluoride. Our team at Preva Dental can recommend some products, as well as help you with proper brushing and flossing techniques. 

And as always, be sure to visit Preva Dental twice each year for a professional exam and cleaning to remove stubborn plaque and tartar for healthy teeth and gums. 

Contact our office in San Antonio today by phone or online to learn more about teeth whitening and good oral care. Schedule an exam and cleaning or ask for a laser teeth whitening treatment.