9 Ways You Stain Your Teeth Without Even Knowing It

stain teeth

1. Lemonade

Lemonade’s combination of acid and sugar can really mess with your smile.

“The acidity in the lemonade can actually erode or wear away the enamel,” says Nancy Rosen, a New York City dentist specializing in cosmetic, general, and restorative dentistry.

Related: The Better Man Project From Men’s Health—2,000+ Awesome Tips on How to Live Your Healthiest Life

“When you don’t have a lot of enamel or the enamel is worn away, you go to the next layer, which is called the dentin—and that in itself is actually very yellow,” she says.

2. Sports Drinks

While blue Gatorade has a much more diluted color than coffee or tea, drinking sports drinks can still leave your teeth less than pristine.

“The sugar level also makes all types of bacteria grow,” says Koroush Maddahi, a restorative and cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills and author of The Hidden Epidemic: Restoring Oral Health, One Smile at a Time. “Not only does it stain your teeth, but it also causes problems with decaying teeth because of the sugar content.”

3. White Wine

While red wine is much worse, the white kind can also stain when combined with certain foods.

Say you have a glass (or two) before dinner, and then you eat pasta with tomato sauce.

“It’s almost like opening up the pores of the teeth for the stain to actually be sucked in,” says Dr. Rosen.

4. Green Juices and Smoothies

Depending on what you load them up with, they can be not-so-stellar for your teeth.

A general rule of thumb: “Anything that really stains your clothes, that’s really difficult to get out, stains your teeth as well,” says Dr. Maddahi.

Smoothies are usually packed with bright berries and vegetables that have teeth-tainting qualities.

Good news: That doesn’t mean you have to skip your favorite breakfast staple.

Drinking any juice or smoothie through a thick straw will help deter staining, says Dr. Maddahi.

5. Green Tea

Black or brown teas often turn teeth yellow or gray, but Dr. Rosen says even lighter green teas can leave similar stains.

The best way to avoid that? Brush 30 minutes after eating or drinking anything that could do harm, says Dr. Maddahi.

Just don’t get overeager: Cleaning them within 30 minutes of eating or drinking something acidic can actually erode them more.

6. Cough Syrup

That bright orange DayQuil is leaving more than a nasty taste in your mouth.

Colorful cough syrups are full of sugar that can cause deterioration.

These meds will also leave stains on your teeth if you take them repeatedly over a decent amount of time, says Dr. Rosen.

7. Pools

The pool may be the reason you’ve noticed a brown hue to your grin.

“When you are a swimmer, a lot of times you keep your mouth open or let water into the mouth, and those chemicals that treat the pool can actually cause a brown stain in the mouth,” says Dr. Rosen.

Keep in mind this will only affect your teeth if you spend more than six hours a week in the chemically-treated water.

8. Traumatic Injuries

If you play a sport and suffer any injury to the mouth, your smile’s shine might take a hit, too.

“Any time there is any type of trauma to your teeth, the nerve of your tooth can die and your tooth starts to gray out,” says Dr. Maddahi.

9. Certain Medications

Injuries aren’t the only health woe that can cause stains.

Taking medications for extended periods of time or undergoing serious procedures, like chemo or radiation treatments, can alter the blood flow to the tooth, changing its color from within, says Dr. Maddahi.

The article 9 Ways You’re Staining Your Teeth Without Even Knowing It originally ran on

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