A great smile is just one of those things people pay thousands of dollars for.
In an ideal world, we would all have the straight, white teeth of celebrities but as reality proves, it actually is a pretty tricky state to achieve.
If you’ve been struggling to get pearly whites all your life, don’t worry— you’re not alone. Most of the time, stained or yellowing teeth can be attributed to a variety of reasons from your diet, medication and or lifestyle choices.
Ready to hear some of them? Trust us, some of these are going to shock you. Without further ado, here are 11 surprising things that are actually yellowing your teeth:
1. Black tea
We all know that sugary sweet sodas can lead to teeth decay and yellowing, but tea?! Yup, you read that right. Black tea, in particular, is full of tannins that promotes teeth staining.
And it isn’t just limited to black tea, unfortunately. Green tea and chamomile stains teeth, too, though they may stain your pearly whites a different hue instead. According to studies, green tea actually gives you grey-cast teeth.
That’s not to say you can’t drink your favourite English Breakfast Teas anymore— a simple solution to this? Drinking your tea with a straw, or from a to-go lid. Or, adding a dash of milk to your cup! Research shows that just a dollop of milk actually reduces its ability to stain your teeth.
Coffee, tea, or… yellow teeth. Sorry, caffeine addicts: coffee does, in fact, stain teeth as well. Like tea, they also contain tannins, with the acidic nature of the drink altering the pH balance of your mouth, which makes any acidic foods you eat after damage your teeth more quickly.
The solution? Opt for a straw, or a to-go lid. Better yet, cut down on your caffeine consumption, if you can!
3. Red wine AND white wine
You’d think white wine would be exempt from this list, but it isn’t, unfortunately. Both contain those pesky teeth-staining tannins, with lighter type of vinos even being known for making current teeth stains darker. The acid content within wines also creates little pockets on the surface of teeth, allowing the tannins from other beverages to seep in even deeper. Yikes!
4. Bottled water
Don’t go reaching for your bottles of Ice Mountain and Dasani just yet — apparently, during the purification process, bottled water becomes more acidic than tap water, which inadvertently leads to staining and weakened teeth. It also doesn’t contain fluoride, which, as we all know, helps strengthen your teeth’s enamel. Yikes! If this isn’t a good reason to save on some cash and opt for tap water, we don’t know what is.
5. Blueberries, blackberries, and pomegranates
Fruits?! Yup, while they may be great sources of fiber and are all around good foods for our body, they can also really wreak havoc on the brightness of your teeth enamel. These dark berries are actually made out of a compound called chromogens, which produces a stain which is particularly hard to remove.
We recommend sticking to fruits in lighter colours: think apples, strawberries, or even peaches for a bright smile.
6. Citrus fruits
We’ve been talking a lot about how the acidic nature of foods and drinks can cause teeth yellowing, so you can’t be too surprised that citrus fruits are often a key factor behind stained teeth.
The acid in these citrus fruits basically break down your enamel to expose dentin — the yellowish tissue beneath the enamel, hence giving you the appearance of yellow teeth. Try limiting your consumption to once or twice a week, instead!
Your daily roti prata with a side of curry might be responsible for your yellowing teeth more than you think. Sure, it may have a light shade, but a lot of them actually contain a deep pigmentation that can continuously yellow teeth over time.
Counteract this by tossing in fruits and veggies that help wear the colouring off your teeth: apples, potatoes, and carrots are a good place to start. (And no, rojak to go with your prata doesn’t qualify).
8. Balsamic Vinegar
Did you know that one of the healthiest options for salad dressing can also prove to be pretty detrimental to your teeth? Yup, and particularly so, because this sauce is strong, acidic, and dark coloured by nature!
If you have it regularly on your salad, don’t worry too much — the lettuce and veggies help limit the amount of contact it has with your teeth. Phew!
9. Bolognese pasta
That rich, red sauce you love so much may also be responsible for stained chompers, unfortunately. This one has even double the staining potential, with the acidity of the tomatoes and the dark colour yellowing your teeth. Eek! To prevent teeth-yellowing, go for Aglio Olio or Carbonara instead.
10. Soy sauce
It may complement your sushi and chicken rice perfectly, but soy sauce can really do a number on your teeth. The dark pigments in there stains your pearly whites like no other, and because we’re often not conscious of how much soy sauce we’re consuming, it may turn out that we’re having way more of it than we should. Stick to wasabi for your sushi, and perhaps chili for your chicken rice!
11. Certain antibiotics and medication
Yup, apparently, some of the compounds found in common medication can actually stain and discolour your teeth, leaving a yellowish tinge that is impossible to get out. Always check with your doctor as to if your medication does stain teeth, but as of now, these are the most common culprits:
- Antibiotics: Tetracycline (commonly used to treat acne). Expectant mothers should avoid it, especially, as it is known to affect the appearance of their babies’ teeth!
- Antihistamines: Typically used to alleviate allergies and runny noses, certain antihistamines can also cause teeth staining and discolouration. Yikes!
- Anti-hypertension medication: Used to treat high blood pressure, a side effect of this medication is dry mouth, which makes swallowing and digestion difficult. This, in turn, greatly increases the risk of tooth decay and staining.