The teeth should not be snow-white; the enamel’s normal color is slightly yellowish or cream. However, a beautiful smile cannot be with dark yellow teeth, with teeth that have spots on them. We tell you what foods spoil the color of your teeth and how you can protect your teeth from staining.
Almost all foods and drinks come into contact with the teeth, which enter our stomach because the teeth begin the digestive tract. Many of the products leave a mark and stain the teeth. The bright color of the products can go away quickly – for example, bird cherry makes the mouth black and purple but is quickly washed off. Another thing is when the enamel acquires yellow, greenish, or gray shades that toothpaste and brush cannot eliminate. How to deal with such an effect, and what colors are our enamel?
First, you must figure out what color of enamel is considered natural. “Strong, healthy dental tissue is yellowish,” says Ilya K., maxillofacial surgeon, implant dentist, and orthopedist. – White enamel can normally have a creamy tint. The dentin located under it is always yellow, sometimes with a grayish tone. This is due to the mineral inorganic substances in their composition. The denser the concentration of minerals in dentin, the more yellow it is. The enamel, in turn, is translucent; the color of the dentin comes through and forms a shade.
The expert is convinced that with healthy enamel, even if it has a yellowish tint, it makes no sense to whiten it with aggressive agents; the dentin does not whiten. The desire to have snow-white rows at all costs makes many go to dentists for veneers and crowns of the desired tone.
The “native” color depends on the transparency of the enamel and the intensity of the color of the dentin. These factors are laid down genetically and are given to everyone from birth. With age, the enamel becomes thinner, and the dentin darkens, so the aged tissues darken and look gray-yellow.
What stains teeth
Food contains three main substances that can stain teeth: chromogen (coloring pigment), tannins, and acids. “Chromogens penetrate the smallest pores of the enamel and can be fixed on its surface,” Ilya explains the mechanics of the action of substances, “and tannin enhances the ability of pigments to adhere to the surface. Acidic foods leach out minerals and thin the enamel, leading to the true color of the dentin. As a result, the teeth become darker, yellow, or gray. In addition, colorants can be organic and natural. They, for example, are found in beets, carrots, spinach, coffee, and tea. They are also found in bird cherry, shadberry, chokeberry, and black currant. And there are also artificial dyes, which are indicated on the label with the letter E with numbers from 100 to 182.
- The strongest effect on tooth enamel is exerted by:
- Coffee and tea containing a lot of tannins. They form a very stable brown film on the enamel, which is difficult to remove with regular brushing.
- Beets, carrots, and spinach give brown, yellowish, and greenish hues, respectively.
- Seasonings and sauces: turmeric, dry paprika, curry, balsamic sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, tomato paste.
- Drinks and confectionery with dyes leave on the surface those pigments in which they are colored.
- Wine contains a lot of tannins, so lovers of red types of intoxicating drinks may eventually notice unaesthetic brown plaque in themselves.
There is another danger of foods rich in acids. Ilya notes that “the acid in the composition of wines or sweet soda, citrus fruits, berries and fruits, sorrel, rhubarb, in the case of regular use of these products, thins the enamel, which aggravates the situation with a shade.” If you do not want to give up these products completely, do not forget to neutralize the effect of these acids and follow the rules of oral hygiene.
Another coloring factor is smoking. “Nicotine resins make teeth yellow, filling microcracks and pores in the enamel, which is why smokers’ dental plaque is so persistent,” warns Ilya. – Resins stick to the surface and eventually harden. It becomes impossible to whiten the “nicotine” color without harming the enamel over time. The best solution is not to smoke.”
Healthy enamel does not stain
If you have good healthy enamel, dyes and products are usually unafraid of it. Healthy enamel is smooth and free of pores and cracks. “Well-cleaned teeth do not have plaque-biofilms, so they are rarely stained with food,” confirms Ilya K.. “But the more porous the enamel, the more intensively the tissue absorbs pigments from the outside.”
Plaque is also more susceptible to staining; therefore, if the rules of oral hygiene are violated, staining occurs in the places of its greatest accumulation – in the cervical part of the teeth, in places of gum inflammation, in the area of composite fillings, in the interdental space, in areas of carious lesions or “chalky” spots.
Protect your teeth
We cannot completely abandon coloring products. Many are very useful and contain the necessary vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. After all, they are delicious. The coloring effect can be reduced, first, by monitoring the health of the teeth and visiting the dentist regularly to prevent caries and other diseases. And, of course, be sure to monitor oral hygiene; just brush your teeth regularly.
- To prevent irreversible teeth staining, Dr. Ilya advises following the following rules.
- After eating foods that can potentially stain fabrics, you need to eat fruits or vegetables with dense pulp in a neutral shade – for example, pear, apple, celery, daikon, white cabbage, and radish.
- “Coloring” dishes are best washed down with mineral water without gas. So you can neutralize the pigments from a freshly eaten beetroot salad or a serving of blackcurrant.
- To prevent coffee and tea from staining the enamel, adding cream or milk to drinks is recommended.
- All drinks with dyes – colored soda and natural juices of bright colors – should be drunk through a straw so that they do not fall on the enamel.
- The simplest method of protection: after each use of food coloring foods, rinse your mouth several times with clean water, or better, brush your teeth.
- A good prevention of tooth staining from food is a “white” diet based on fermented milk products, hard vegetables, and fruits with light pulp and light sauces.
Dense vegetables and fruits are a mechanical cleaner from plaque, which contributes to their whitening. In addition, such products increase the production of saliva, which washes away all pigments from the surface, preventing them from being deeply absorbed. Eating several times a day as a snack, a piece of daikon, white cabbage, or an apple, can strengthen your teeth and simultaneously normalize the gastrointestinal tract’s functioning.
Mechanical cleansing of plaque and food pigments occurs using white crackers, stale bread, whole grain bread, biscuits, and nuts.