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Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

A guide to the foods that stain and erode teeth—and those that can prevent or reverse the damage.
red-wine-stain

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Wine

Here's a rule of thumb: Anything that will "get [you] yelled at if you spill it on a white table cloth" will also stain your teeth, Messina says. That means red wine, which contains substances known as chromogens that produce tooth-discoloring pigments. What's more, the tannins in red wine tend to dry out the mouth and make teeth sticky, worsening stains.

But even white wine can contribute to staining. Reds and whites both contain erosive acid, allowing stains from other foods or drinks to penetrate more deeply. A 2009 study found that cow's teeth soaked in black tea were more susceptible to staining if they were soaked in white wine (versus water) beforehand.

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