As summer comes to an end, we find ourselves saying goodbye to some of our favorite things, like blueberry pie.

Sure, with fall comes apple pie, but there’s something special about a blueberry pie. We’re not sure exactly what it is. Something about the balance between tartness and sweetness. Or maybe it’s the juiciness of the berries.

Oh, we know what makes blueberry pie so special! It stains your teeth like nothing else!

Looking back over photos from this summer, do you see the wrath of vacation treats showing on your smile? Houston Uptown Dentists offers professional teeth whitening both in-office and at home.

Stop in our Houston, TX office for a Zoom! whitening treatment; you’ll see a difference in 20 seconds! If you’d rather take your time and whiten your teeth at home, we’ll custom-make bleaching trays just for your mouth.

To make sure your smile stays bright, watch out for foods and drinks that can stain your teeth.

Beware Of Staining Agents Working Together

A food or drink needs one of three things to leave its mark on your maw:

  • Acids, which work to weaken enamel. Acid erosion softens the surface of the tooth, making it more likely to pick up chromogens.
  • Chromogens, which are highly pigmented compounds that love to stick to your enamel. They thrive when paired with acids and tannins.
  • Tannins, which bind to your enamel extremely well. They enhance chromogens’ ability to stick.

Know The Enemies Of Teeth Whitening

Now that you know what it takes to stain your teeth, let’s talk about which of your guilty pleasures are guiltier than you thought.

Picture a delicious three-course meal:

  • The first course is a Caprese salad: mozzarella cheese and tomatoes topped with basil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Next is the star of the show: a hot, sticky plate of barbecue ribs. Wash it down with a huge glass of sweet tea, then get ready for dessert.
  • Finally, a slice of fresh-from-the-oven blueberry pie served with a steaming cup of coffee.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the feast we just fed you was full of the top offenders when it comes to staining your teeth.

Tomatoes have a surprisingly high acid content. You may not be surprised that balsamic vinegar measures a fairly low pH, too, but that’s not all. Balsamic vinegar is a heavyweight in the teeth-staining world. Not only is it acidic and richly colored, but it’s also sticky! And sticky foods hang around on your teeth longer, tending to penetrate your enamel more deeply.

You probably know where we’re going with this. That big plate of barbecue ribs? Let’s just say that if balsamic vinegar is a heavyweight, barbecue sauce is the champion. Dark, acidic, sticky, and sometimes full of sugar – paired with that tannin-filled glass of tea, it would win a game of discoloration bingo!

Last but definitely not least is dessert. We’ve already mentioned that blueberries are great for staining your teeth. But let’s not forget your cup of java. Highly acidic and full of chromogens, coffee also contains its fair share of tannins.

Lucky for you, patients of Houston Uptown Dentists can receive whitening for life as part of our current specials and promotions. When you come in for your regular exams and cleanings, we’ll supply you with refills for your take-home teeth whitening kits.

Fight Back Against Offensive Food

We’d have to be crazy to tell you to give up tomatoes, barbecue, and pie. You deserve to enjoy your favorite foods without worrying that you’re damaging your teeth. So what’s the answer?

Moderation is key. Try to limit your enjoyment of these snacks to special occasions, and be sure to drink lots of water between courses. Chewing sugarless gum will also help as it encourages saliva production.

Balance your berry intake with some fibrous fruit, like pears or apples. The fibers in these foods can help scrub away stains. Just be sure to floss and brush 30 minutes after eating them, as those fibers also like to get stuck in your teeth!

A surprising defense against stains is “spinach teeth.” You know that filmy feeling you get in your mouth after you eat dark, leafy greens? It feels like a film because it is one. And it can serve as a protective barrier if you eat a hearty salad before digging into those ribs.

If you do find that your eating habits are eating away at your enamel, call Houston Uptown Dentists at 832-463-1021 to discuss whitening options.