What’s Really Staining Your Teeth (and How to Fight It)

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There’s a popular TV commercial that claims that “if you’re not whitening, you’re yellowing,” but what exactly is it that turns our teeth from pearly white to dull and dingy?

It seems pretty obvious that most of the stains on our teeth come from food. For example, if blueberries stain our hands when we pick them, it makes sense that they stain our teeth when we chew them.

This is because all foods contain something called chromogens, defined by the American Heritage Medical Dictionary as “… strongly pigment-generating or pigmented organelles, organs, or microorganisms.” Chromogens are what give food, drinks, and any other organic substance their color. When left behind on our teeth, they make stains.

However, there are a few other factors to consider when it comes to how our favorite delectables discolor our dentistry. It’s not simply a matter of pigmentation because some colorful foods won’t make the slightest blemish on our teeth, while others can discolor our choppers instantly.