With the holiday season in full swing, many people are making an effort to look their best for seasonal celebrations, and this includes having a pearly white smile. However, there are beverages we consume daily, and may not give a second thought about, that can thwart your teeth whitening efforts. Make sure you know what they are before you indulge so you can have a sparkling smile well into the new year.
Here are the seven drinks of the holidays that can yellow your teeth and you should watch out for.
Coffee is well-known for it’s teeth staining capabilities and for good reason: it’s both darkly coloured, thanks to a substance it contains called tannins, and it’s highly acidic. It’s dark colouring can transfer to teeth through prolonged and frequent exposure, giving teeth a yellow coloured stain. The acid in coffee eats away at tooth enamel if not properly and quickly removed. Once the enamel is weakened, the layer below the enamel, known as the dentin, and it’s more yellow colouring is exposed, giving teeth a stained look. So, when you catch up with someone over coffee during the holidays, consider adding milk to your java to tone down its staining affects or switch it out for another beverage entirely.
While teas are generally much less acidic than coffee, they do still contain tannins that can deposit on your teeth and discolour them. Be aware that different teas have different colouring effects on teeth when consumed in large amounts. Green teas will leave a more gray coloured stain while black teas leave a yellow stain, similar to coffee. If you want to keep enjoying your tea this season, go for higher quality teas as they will deposit less colour on your teeth than cheaper options.
Sports and energy drinks
If you are making an effort to boost your energy levels this holiday, consuming sports or energy drinks won’t do any favours for your smile. Full of acids, both are destructive to the protective enamel coating of teeth and can corrode it away while creating a breeding ground for bacteria with their sugar content. Energy drinks are especially acidic, making them even more of a danger to enamel. Try foregoing sports and energy drinks altogether and favour restful sleep and proper hydration instead to boost your energy.
Like coffee and tea, red wine also contains stain-causing tannins which can leave teeth with a lacklustre gray colouring. All types of red wine will have this outcome and the effect will get worse if it’s frequently consumed. Keep a toothbrush handy and, if you do decide to indulge in a glass of red wine, brush your teeth soon after to eliminate the chances of the colouration depositing onto your teeth.
Contrary to popular belief, white wine is not a great alternative to red wine if you are looking for an option that doesn’t yellow teeth. White wine, while light in colour, is more acidic than red wine and is harmful to tooth enamel in much the same way that coffee is. When left in contact with teeth, this acid breaks down the protective outer layer of the tooth and exposes its yellowish inner layer, which can look like staining. If you do want to enjoy white wine this season, follow it with water to keep acids from sticking to teeth.
Fruit juices, especially berry or citrus fruit juices, are full acids and sugars. This is a dangerous combination for teeth as the acids break down the outer layer of teeth, exposing the vulnerable dentin, and sugars offer a breeding ground for bacteria which can attack the inner part of the tooth and cause cavities. The yellowing effect can come from both a buildup of bacteria, plaque and tartar and the exposed inner layer of teeth. If you’re looking for hydration, water is the best and healthiest way to quench your thirst.
Any beverage with carbonation is acidic. This is because the bubbles of carbonation are actually carbon dioxide and when you drink it, the gas goes through a chemical reaction in your mouth which turns it into an acid. This acid, again, is very harmful to tooth enamel as it weakens it, makes the tooth more vulnerable, and exposes its yellow inner layers. Pops and carbonated juices with sugar are especially destructive as the sugar promotes the growth of bacteria as well as exposing your teeth to acids. Favour non-carbonated drinks as you enjoy your holiday season and you won’t have to worry about yellowing teeth in the new year.
Enjoy the holidays!