You might have heard that genetics are sometimes the cause of stained teeth. But we weren’t quite sold on that concept considering that Americans spend about $1.4 billion annually on over-the-counter teeth whitening products according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. It turns out there are many other factors at play when it comes to why your teeth are more stain-prone, so we decided to find out what they are and how to prevent them.
First, Dunedin, FL, cosmetic dentist, H. Mikel Hopkins, DDS, says, “I don’t feel that there is really evidence that staining is related to ethnicity or gender, but more to the types of foods that they may eat. Cultures that use a lot of color in their foods with heavy spices are definitely more likely to stain.” For example, your love for Italian dishes with red pasta sauce could be the culprit behind your tooth stains. Or, people that eat a lot of acidic foods will have a problem with staining because acid weakens the enamel.
While ethnicity doesn’t necessarily play a role in how likely your teeth are to stain, genetics can cause some people’s enamel to be more porous than others. The more porous, the higher likelihood of stains. Also, if you drink coffee, tea, and red wine your teeth will stain more rapidly.
“If you drink a lot of coffee, teas and red wines, visiting your hygienist four times a year may be needed,” says San Francisco cosmetic dentist Niloufer G. Hamsayeh, DDS. Flossing, brushing and rinsing thoroughly after consuming foods that are more likely to stain your teeth is important to prevent the color from soaking in. But keep in mind that you shouldn’t brush after red wine as it will spread the enamel dissolving acid all over your teeth. Instead, rinse with water.
The most effective way to remove stains is to have them professionally removed by a dentist. “If you have bleached before, it is important to do monthly touch-ups with the trays and bleach to keep the teeth free of stains and looking as white as possible,” says Dr. Hopkins.
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