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The Truth about Tannins and Teeth Stains

October 8, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — kathylamdds @ 11:06 pm

A comforting cup of coffee. A bowl of plump cherries. A much-needed glass of wine. A spicy colorful curry. These are some examples of beverages and foods (although delicious) that can cause staining and yellowing of your teeth. But why? And what can you do about it? Your dentist in Wheaton is here to explain the connection between tannins and teeth staining…and what you can do to get a bright white smile!

What are Tannins?

Tannins are a group of organic compounds that are responsible for giving certain foods and drinks their deep color. Coffee, tea, wine, tomatoes, cherries, berries, and balsamic vinegar are some examples that have rich pigments due to their tannin content. They also cause the bitter taste that is common in these foods. Tannins are also healthy; they act as antioxidants, which attack free radicals in the body.

How Do Tannins Stain and Discolor Teeth?

Tannins have a tendency to stain and discolor the teeth because they attract proteins, sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, and enzymes in the mouth and cause them to stick to the enamel. Enamel is very porous and absorbs substances like sugar, bacteria, and tannins. This is what causes the discoloration on your teeth! As they continuously take in the dark pigment of the tannins in the beverages and foods you consume, your pearly whites become less bright. Eventually, you notice severe discoloration and your teeth appear yellowish.

What Can You do About Your Stained and Discolored Teeth?

Many people try to counteract the discoloration on their teeth with over-the-counter whitening treatments.  Although they are convenient, they don’t contain a professional strength whitening agent, so they have little to no effect on tannin stains. Fortunately, your dentist can provide effective teeth whitening solutions to restore a beautiful smile.

Your dental provider will use highly concentrated whitening agents to deeply penetrate the enamel to resolve tough stains. Your teeth can become your desired color of white in just one in-office treatment. In addition, there may also be take-home options for your convenience. A customized home kit will be given to you and within two weeks, you will see a brighter smile!

After treatment, these tips will help you retain your fresh and improved teeth:

  • Clean between each tooth daily with high-quality floss.
  • Limit your consumption of stain-causing foods and drinks.
  • Drink dark beverages through a straw.
  • Rinse your mouth with water or chew sugarless gum after eating if you can’t brush.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
  • Refrain from smoking or using tobacco.

If you enjoy drinks and beverages with tannins, it is likely you will begin to see a discoloration of your teeth. Yet, with the help of your dentist and these helpful tips, your pearly whites can once again shine bright!

About the Author

Dr. Kathy Lam serves the smiles of Wheaton and the surrounding communities. With a focus on personalized care, she loves to help you achieve your unique goals and needs for optimal dental health and bright pearly whites! She provides customized cosmetic treatments, like in-office and take-home whitening. If you are interested in treating your tannin-stained teeth to return to a bright smile, contact her through her website or call (630) 474-6440.

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