• Written by Tess Sanders Lazarus

Many people are already aware that some foods and drinks can discolour your teeth.  Some of these are obvious and well known, such as tea, coffee, and cola beverages however according to one of Australia’s leading dental surgeons and owner of The Great Smile Dentist, Dr Toni Surace, “it’s the foods and drinks we least expect that can cause the most harm, including soy sauce, tea, some tomato based dishes and even some medications.  These products can cause stained teeth if they are not consumed appropriately or your teeth are not treated properly after their consumption.  One of the biggest culprits is sports drinks.  They are full of sugar, acid, salt, water and colouring and people think they are healthy because they are connected to sport.”


For many people teeth discoloration does not mean they have an unhealthy dental structure.  However, if stains accumulate over the years and form tartar, it may have an impact on their periodontal health, which can lead to serious general health issues and gum diseases. 


Dr Toni Surace wants people to know that some things we consume daily or regularly can cause serious harm to our teeth. 


According to Dr Toni Surace, “there are a few simple tips people can implement in their everyday lives to avoid harming their teeth.”


  1. Use a straw for drinks – Using s straw to sip beverages, such as  soft drinks, wine and coffee, can decrease the amount of the exposure your teeth have to the staining chemicals in the products.  Avoid plastic disposable straws and carry around your own straw 


  1. Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth after every meal – Brushing your teeth straight after a meal or a drink can minimise the effect of any of the staining chemicals.  The longer these chemicals sit on the teeth, the greater they can stain them.   Carry a toothbrush around with you, drink some water or chew sugar free gum to stimulate saliva which will also ‘rinse’ your teeth


  1. Be aware of the dangers of food colouring and foods that contain pigments -  Balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, dark juices, berries, beetroot, grapes and other foods rich in colour can discolour your teeth.  Sports drinks are a big problem when it comes to discolouration as well as being loaded with sugar and salt.  Ideally we need to see warning labels on sports drinks


  1. Use an electric toothbrush – When trying to remove stains from your teeth, it matters more about the quality of the actual brushing of them rather than the brush itself.  Electric toothbrushes are more effective in removing plaque as they allow micromovements on the teeth when brushing.  Getting rid of plaque is important, as areas with this plaque are the ones that will stain.
  2. Research your medications and discuss potential issues with your doctor – Some medications can cause teeth discolouration, from antihistamines to antibiotics to cough syrup. 


  1. Have regular dental check-ups and professional cleans – Regular trips to the dentist can help you identify areas of plaque buildup and help guide you on the best methods to effectively target any problems to avoid stained teeth.


Dr Surace is passionate about educating patients to be more aware of the impact of our daily life on our teeth and the importance of seeing the dentist regularly.


“I am passionate about dentistry and I want to help people become aware of how dental health affects whole body health,” Dr Surace added.

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