• July 15, 2022
teeth staining habits causing surface stains and enamel erosion

When people think of a healthy smile, they often picture white unstained teeth. While you may have the goal of pearly whites, there are habits that you can be doing that could lead to discoloration. These teeth staining habits are not always a sign of unhealthy teeth, they could also be precursors to more serious health issues or lead to further oral health degenerations.

Smoking or Chewing Tobacco

The dangers of tobacco are well known to your heart, lungs, and cardiovascular system, and beyond the risks you face with your internal organs, sustained usage will also lead to oral health problems. Smoking or chewing tobacco will penetrate through the tooth enamel, which can lead to staining. Over time, continued usage can destroy the enamel and lead to tooth decay and gum disease. It’s also important to note that smoking with dental implants is just as dangerous.

Drinking Sugary Drinks/Soda

Sugary and Fizzy drinks are low in PH levels. This means they have acidic properties that will erode the enamel and leads to staining. It may seem like lighter colored drinks like sprite would protect you from staining because they lack color, this is not the case. The damage done by the acids allow other foods to stain your teeth. Prolonged consumption can lead to tooth decay, and the sugars will also nave negative effects on you metabolism.

Drinking Excessive Amount of Coffee

Coffee and tea are often viewed with some positive benefits for you. However, the only true way to prevent coffee stains on teeth is to drink it in moderation. When consumed in excess, the dark tints, caused by tannins in the drinks, will eventually darken your teeth, like staining a piece of wood.

Eating Foods Prone to Teeth Staining

Some foods are more susceptible to causing tooth staining. If you eat foods like tomatoes (tomato sauce, ketchup, etc.), Citrus (oranges, lemons, limes, etc.), foods high in vinegar (pickles, kimchi, sour kraut, etc.) you may find that the acids will degrade you tooth enamel, leading to staining.

Cooking with Spices, Red Wine, etc Spices and wines can lead to discoloration over time. Spices like, turmeric and curry, contain pigments. They are often combine with acidic sauce, that can lead to yellowing. If you pair these foods with fibrous or starchy fruits and vegetables, you can limit the damage to your teeth.

Food Dye

If you have eaten a brightly colored piece of candy and watched your tongue change color, you have seen what is also happening to your teeth. These dyes are aggressive, and with long exposure will penetrate your teeth. Food dyes are often used with high sugar levels, which can cause even more damage to your teeth.

Not Drinking Enough Water

Dehydration effects your body all over. Most people don’t realize how not drinking enough water throughout the day is one of many teeth staining habits that can impact your oral health. By ensuring you hydrate regularly with water, you will promote saliva production and periodically rinse your teeth. Saliva provides your mouth with minerals that is beneficial to your teeth’s health. Lack of water can allow foods to remain on your teeth, increasing staining, and accelerate the breakdown of enamel.


Some medications have negative side effects that can impact your oral health. If you take something that can cause dry mouth, for example, you may end up with damaged enamel, leading to tooth decay. If your medications are leading to problems with your oral health, it is important to work with your doctor before bigger issues arise.

Grinding Your Teeth

Teeth grinding can cause problems throughout the mouth. When you grind your teeth, you wear down the enamel exposing your teeth to staining from foods and beverages. This staining is often an early sign of your grinding habit. If left untreated, you can end up with major problems, like tooth decay or broken teeth.

Not Brushing & Flossing Properly

It should go without saying, but flossing is important. Unfortunately, one of the quickest ways to damage your teeth is by not following regular oral care practices. Early signs that you could see tooth damage or decay from lack of brushing or flossing is discoloration. The benefit is that this is one of the quickest habits to change. Examples of improper hygiene habits include, not brushing or flossing twice daily, brushing too quickly or too aggressively, or not changing brushes routinely.

Not Visiting or Neglecting To Visit The Dentist

It is important to visit your dentist regularly. They will be able to monitor your teeth and address any issues that you may be facing. If you neglect visiting the dentist, early signs of discoloration can go untreated, which can lead to major staining or tooth decay.

It’s time to kick those teeth staining habits to the curb! If you are concerned with discoloration of your teeth, or worse, come see us at Shorewood Family Dental Care. We have been servicing the Greater Joliet area for years. Our expert staff can assess any staining or discoloration of your teeth and provide you with a treatment plan to address it. Whether you need whitening care, cleaning services, or a more comprehensive plan, we are here to help you. Contact our Joliet family dental care team at 815-725-5991 to schedule your consultation today.