Pearly white smiles are perfect and the envy of many. They have no discoloration and shine from miles away, attracting the eyes of everyone. Often, having a perfect smile can make you exude confidence which is reason enough for protecting your teeth from stains

You know your teeth look good, so you’ll flash them every chance you’ve got. White smiles can influence first impressions too. If your smile is radiant, you’re sure to be remembered.

Obtaining pearly whites can be hard. Discoloration can be caused by multiple foods and beverages, which many claims they’d be a monster without. Tooth discoloration is any colour that isn’t white or yellowish-white. Teeth can turn practically any colour of the rainbow—yellow, brown, grey, burnt orange, or hues of blue. Sometimes the whole tooth turns a solid colour, whereas other times lines, spots, or patches appear.

Know Your Tooth Stains

There are two types of stains that cause discoloration in your smile. Extrinsic stains occur when the enamel (the outer layer of the tooth) becomes discoloured. This stain is the most common, as many of the food and beverages we consume daily have an effect on the outer layer of our teeth. This type of discoloration is more easily corrected than the others.

Intrinsic stains are more stubborn. These stains occur when the inner structure of the tooth (the dentin) becomes discoloured. In this case, the tooth will darken or turn a yellow hue. Your actions have less to do with intrinsic stains, as they are usually caused at a young age. Increased exposure to fluoride, trauma affecting your teeth, or the use of tetracycline antibiotics all at an early age contribute to a different coloured smile.

Common Causes of Tooth Discoloration    

Food: While the food we eat can taste oh so good, it doesn’t necessarily mean it agrees with our mouth. Even foods that are healthy can turn your teeth in different colours. Foods such as pasta sauce, balsamic vinegar, berries, hard candy, and curry can cause staining due to their high levels of acidity and rich pigmentation. A good rule of thumb to follow is if it can stain your carpet, it can stain your teeth. While these foods may not need to be cut from your diet completely, they should be consumed in moderation to prevent stains.

Beverages: The vices of many individuals, unfortunately, cause staining as well. You may want to rethink that glass of red wine with supper or that third cup of joe. Coffee and other sugary drinks contain tannins that can lead to discoloration. Drinking beverages such as these repeatedly will increase the chances of staining your pearly whites. Consuming teas of any colour, white wine, sports drinks, or pop will also erode your enamel and promote staining. Are you still dreaming about that glass of wine waiting for you at home? Try pairing it with some nuts. Experts believe chewing hard foods can help scrub the plaque off your teeth and minimize discoloration.

Age: Another factor that will prevent a perfect smile is old age—something we can’t do anything about. A combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors cause this. The insides of our teeth were naturally built to discolour over time. Our enamel also weakens and thins with age, allowing the inner structure of our teeth to show through. While we may wish to have a knee-jerking smile, sometimes it’s just not in the cards.

Related: The Truth About Ageing and Oral Hygiene 

Pearly whites really shine, but it’s hard to protect them or even get them in the first place. So many great tasting food and beverages can cause discoloration. Consume in moderation and substitute sugary drinks for water to help avoid staining your smile.