Like scoring a big promotion or a date with your longtime crush, a luminous, white smile is the stuff that dreams are made of. And it’s no wonder, considering how much the appearance of our teeth affects our image.

Case in point: Research shows people with whiter teeth are perceived as more socially competent, smarter, more satisfied with their relationships, and more psychologically adjusted . Another study suggests that a brighter smile may lead to more success in both your professional and personal lives.

“I want a dingy smile,” said no one ever. We all want a smile that lights up a room like an incandescent bulb. So what can you do about it? For starters, you can avoid certain common foods that are known to stain and darken your pearly whites.

Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Here is a list of the top dental offenders you should cross off your shopping list (or at least cut back on):


A good merlot is hard to beat, especially when paired with a sumptuous meal, but wine has a dark side (that can end up darkening your teeth). The same tannins that make wine flavorful and lend a mellow taste tend to stick to the naturally occurring plaques on your teeth.

To avoid this problem, you can brush your teeth before you eat. This will reduce the amount of plaque and the likelihood of dental stains. It should be noted that you should not brush your teeth right after enjoying a glass of wine as that may actually spread the acids around your teeth. You can also rinse out your mouth or use a tissue after sipping wine for better results. (Sparkling water is especially good for reducing the chances of staining.)

Citrus and Acidic Foods

If you notice a yellowish tinge to your teeth, acidic foods (think citrus fruits and tomatoes) might be to blame. Even though they’re nutrient-packed, these colorful eats can erode the enamel, which might expose the yellow-hued dentin—a.k.a. the tissue beneath the enamel made up of mostly calcium and phosphate crystals, Dr. Jivraj says.


When you are struggling to wake up and face that glacial rush hour traffic, the easy caffeine fix in a cup of Joe seems hard to pass up. The only problem with that is the polyphenols in coffee can easily bond to your teeth. Ironically enough, those same chemical compounds also protect your enamel from the harshness of the acids in a cup of coffee. (They also impart the complex flavor of your favorite Starbucks morning latte.) Here’s some good news though: simply adding creamer or milk with a high-fat content allows the polyphenols to bind to the cream instead. Because it is based on the chemistry of fat content, fat-free and soy milk won’t work to reduce staining. Sorry dieters!


That whole sugar-will-rot-your-teeth-out thing? It’s a bit dramatic but kind of hinged on fact. The sugars in delicious treats like cookies and hard candy (and even snack foods like chips) latch onto your teeth and become the main meal for the bacteria in your mouth. When the bacteria feed off these sugars, they release acids that lead to tooth decay, which may be dark and cause back holes in your poor teeth.


Some medications such as antibiotics and anti-histamines have a tendency to stain teeth. Your health has to come first, so before you stop a medication, always consult your healthcare provider. They may be able to offer another medication that is just as effective and appropriate for your health.


Smoking is simply terrible for your body at many levels. Besides damaging your lungs and heart, smoking wreaks havoc on your dental health too. So much so that it can easily lead to stained teeth or even gum disease and tooth loss. While we can whiten your teeth, we recommend that you try to quit smoking. If you need help, talk to your doctor about a smoking cessation program.

Best Foods for Your Teeth

Fibrous Fruits

High-fiber fruits, like pears and apples, may help whiten your teeth, Dr. Jivraj says. Not only do they boost saliva flow (which helps keep teeth clean), but their fiber content removes some stains by scrubbing the surface of the teeth, he explains. Just be sure you brush your teeth after having your apple a day—fruit still contains sugars, and you don’t want that sticking around longer than it has to.

Baking Soda

Scrubbing with the white powdery stuff will whiten teeth naturally, Dr. Jivraj says. Simply wet your toothbrush and dip into the powder. One caveat: Don’t make it an everyday habit. Since the abrasive properties of baking soda may cause damage to the enamel of your teeth, he recommends using this method once a week.


Good news, cheesemongers: You may be fighting cavities with every delicious bite. Research suggests that eating the savory stuff may lead to a higher pH level in the mouth, which slashes the risk for cavities


Water does more than just keep you hydrated. Research suggests that drinking plenty of H2O keeps the teeth and gums healthy, and fluoridated water in particular helps battle tooth decay. And if you can’t brush after a meal, simply swish around some water to clear sugars and acids.


We’re nuts about nuts around here, and for good reason: These small but mighty bites boast a slew of health benefits, from boosting weight loss to fighting aging and more. And now we can add one more to the list: strengthening our teeth. Because of their protein content, nuts protect our teeth and keep them strong, Dr. Jivraj says. Plus, the chewing it takes to eat each one helps stimulate saliva production, so they also help clean the mouth, he adds. On the flipside, some research suggests that nuts may cause tooth decay and could have been to blame for dental disease in our hunter-gatherer ancestors, so check with your dentist to see what he or she recommends before going too, well, nuts.

Schedule a Complimentary Cosmetic Consultation Today!

When it comes to efficiency of your time and proficiency of cosmetic dentistry techniques, Anacapa Dental Art Institute is the right choice for your teeth. Contact us to schedule your private consultation today and find out why we consider our dentists as the best cosmetic dentists in the area.


We look forward to providing families with exceptional care and advanced treatment options. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Jivraj contact our Oxnard, CA, dental office today by calling 805-800-8289. Our office welcomes patients in and around Oxnard, CA, including Santa Barbara, Woodland Hills, Ventura, and the surrounding Southern California communities.