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Tips for dealing with tooth stains

Consumer Reports News: September 05, 2010 10:08 AM

Remember how cherry popsicles turned your tongue bright red when you were a little kid? It was fun then but not so much now. Surface stains wind up on your teeth and over time can set in and permanently darken them. While you’re using a tooth whitener your teeth are especially vulnerable to stains. "Any liquid that can stain a white carpet will eventually stain your teeth," says Steven A. Ghareeb, D.D.S.  

Some major culprits

  • Soft drinks (Colas, as well as clear sodas, contain acids that contribute to staining by eroding tooth enamel.) 
  • Red wine 
  • Smoking 
  • Sports drinks 
  • Blueberries 
  • Coffee 
  • Tea 

5 ways to limit staining

Here are some tricks in case you just can’t quit your favorite foods and drinks.

  • Drink soda or iced coffee or tea through a straw. The liquid bypasses your teeth, lessening the likelihood of surface staining. 
  • Go for regular cleanings at the dentist. 
  • Brush your teeth twice a day, especially after you eat foods that can cause stains. 
  • Drink water after you eat foods that stain. It might help lessen the damage. 
  • Avoid deeply colored foods and drinks while whitening and for two days after each treatment.

We'd like to hear from you: What are some ways you keep your teeth white and reduce staining?

This article first appeared in the September 2009 issue of ShopSmart

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