When drinking a cup of coffee or enjoying a few pieces of dark chocolate, you may not be thinking much about the possibility of tooth stains. The reality, however, is that foods and beverages that contain tannins – astringent compounds commonly found in nature – can wreak havoc on your pearly whites over time. Read on to find out which snacks and drinks you should limit or stay away from as well as why teeth whitening can help to transform your smile.
The Truth About Tannins
Consisting of a group of organic bitter and astringent compounds, tannins are found in many foods and beverages and can be pleasant or distasteful depending on your preference. Some of the most common items that include tannins are dark chocolate, coffee, tea, and wine. Certain fruits like pears and plums can also contain tannins.
When entering the mouth, these tannins begin to interact with carbohydrates that are consumed as well as proteins and various enzymes and sugars. This is why they can be harmful to your teeth – they adhere to unhealthy particles inside your oral anatomy and stick to tooth enamel. This can result in cavity formation and increased staining, especially when foods and beverages like soy sauce or cherries are consumed. Why? Because they contain chromogen, which is what creates the color of the object. Tannins and chromogen react to cause discoloration.
How to Avoid Tooth Stains
While it is helpful to minimize your consumption of dark-colored foods and beverages, maintain a good oral hygiene routine, and drink plenty of water, you can also achieve quicker results by opting for teeth whitening.
But instead of visiting your local drug store to buy one of the many store-bought whitening kits that make big promises but deliver lackluster results, you’ll find it’s more worthwhile to visit a licensed dentist.
Providing at-home whitening solutions, a trusted professional can equip you with customized custom-made trays and high-grade bleaching gel. Offering clear instructions regarding how long to wear them, you can expect to see results in as little as two weeks. While the process may be different depending on the type of solution you receive, you can expect your teeth to appear up to 8 shades whiter. How? Once the bleaching gel meets with the tooth enamel, it begins to penetrate and attack the stains. As it continues to work, it breaks up any discoloration and allows for fresh oxygen to be delivered to your teeth. As a result, they become whiter and more vibrant.
Moderation is key when enjoying your favorite foods and beverages, but if you want to keep your smile looking its best, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist about the potential for teeth whitening for a whiter, brighter smile.
About the Authors
Dr. Thomas Meschke and Dr. Aaron Swingdorf believe in providing patients with high-quality solutions that lend beautiful results. Skilled in the art of cosmetic dentistry, their ability to provide a breadth of services designed to improve and enhance a person’s appearance is evident in the countless patients who have expressed their satisfaction with their results. If you are looking to say goodbye to the stains and discoloration plaguing your smile, contact us at (952) 448-4151 or visit our website to learn more.
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