One of the most common questions asked of dentists is, “How can I keep my teeth whiter and brighter between visits?”  Many patients even state that they use whitening products at home, but still don’t see the results they desire, or that their stellar results fade quickly. Like so many other health and cosmetic issues facing the modern person, diet is a huge factor in keeping your teeth white. Your diet, the foods and beverages you consume, can stain your teeth, rendering many at-home whitening tactics almost futile.

So, what are the foods I should monitor for whiter teeth?

1. Coffee and Tea

You can easily tell by the colors of these two drinks that they are going to have staining properties. Both beverages are acidic, which also erodes the enamel on your teeth. Coffee is very high in chromogens, and tea has tannins, all of which result in a yellowish hue upon teeth.

Recommendation: Brush your teeth after each cup of coffee or tea, if possible. Cut down on the amount of these beverages you drink (water and milk are best!) As possible, drink through straws to keep a majority of the drink directly off your teeth.

2. Food Dye

Food dye is loaded with all sorts of no-nos for dental health. You see evidence of it anytime you eat an artificially dyed food or beverage, such as juice, candies, and lollipops. The dye will temporarily stain your tongue, lips, and teeth a bright color.

Recommendation:  Avoid brightly colors candy and sweetened drinks.  Read nutrition labels for artificial colors, food ye, and more.

3. Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are great for your overall health, but are also high in chromogens. If the fruit stains your fingers, clothes, or counters – odds are it will stain your teeth! They also tend to be high in natural sugars.

Recommendation: If you can’t brush right away, use some mouthwash to get out as much as possible.