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Stains on your teeth can be unsightly, and naturally many people would like to avoid them. Most are caused chewing foods or consumables (like tobacco) that have staining properties. In a few cases, stains may be caused by medications. In this last case, they are usually an unfortunate side effect of required medications, and your best bet may be to consider porcelain veneers to disguise tooth discoloration.
There are many foods that can stain your teeth. Coffee and tea are two of the biggest culprits, as is tobacco, which accounts for significant staining whether it is smoked or chewed. Curry powder with its bright red, brown, or yellow color can cause yellow stained teeth. Most berries, which are rich in color will cause stains too. In reality, there are many foods that are likely to stain the teeth, including both artificially or naturally colored foods.
You can, of course, avoid all these foods, but that might keep you on a very limited diet. Instead, the best way to avoid stains on your teeth is to brush regularly. If you eat a few berries on your cereal at breakfast, finish the meal with two minutes of brushing with a good toothpaste, preferably one that contains fluoride. Many electric toothbrushes are praised for being better able to eliminate plaque, but even a manual toothbrush will do if you’re a good brusher who keeps it up for two minutes. Ideally, you should brush your teeth after consuming any food or beverages, but chewing sugarless gum after meals when you can’t brush can additionally cut down on plaque build up and staining.
It's also important for you to attend dental cleaning appointments twice a year. This can help remove any stubborn plaque to which stains might stick. When you have plastic fillings, it’s especially important to brush your teeth regularly and see your dentist twice a year. Many stains can be lifted off teeth, but they can’t be removed from adhesives that are attached to the teeth. Instead any plastic or tooth-colored adhesive has to be replaced to eliminate stains.
If you take a liquid form of iron, you are very likely to have stains on your teeth. You should always brush right after taking this type of supplement, and you might want to consider switching to a capsule or pill so that the iron does not have to come into contact with the teeth. Smokers and tobacco chewers tend to have the worst stains on their teeth, so quitting can help reduce this problem, and it is simply a healthy choice to make overall.
Some medications, like tetracycline, can directly cause internal staining to the teeth, which can’t be eliminated by brushing or bleaching. Others cause dry mouth, which means food particles more readily stick to the teeth and result in extrinsic or exterior staining. Many over-the-counter and prescription medications can create dry mouth, including most decongestants, antihistamines, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and tranquilizers.
To minimize stains if you must take medications that cause significant dry mouth, brushing regularly is extremely important. People with dry mouth are more predisposed to tooth decay and bacterial build up. You can help address this by using an antibacterial mouthwash after each brushing and drinking plenty of water.