If you’re like most people, you’d love to have perfectly white teeth without having to do anything to maintain the beautiful shine of your pearly whites, but for many people, this is simply not a reality. There are many factors that play into the color of your teeth and their overall appearance, including your oral hygiene habits, quality of dental care, and, you guessed it: your diet.

At Trillium Dental in Ottawa, we offer professional teeth whitening treatments and take-home teeth whitening kits for patients who wish to improve the color of their teeth, and our Zoom! whitening procedure has proven to whiten teeth up to nine shades in an hour-long session at our family dental clinic. However, if you’re wondering how to whiten teeth without using teeth whitening gel or DIY teeth whitening techniques, avoid smoking cigarettes and limit your consumption of these five foods:


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but coffee and black tea consumption is one of the leading causes of stained teeth among adults — particularly college students and working adults. This is because the dark color and acidity of coffee and dark tea can cause the teeth to absorb some of it, resulting in tooth discoloration and unsightly yellow teeth stains over time. The more coffee, chai tea, and English breakfast tea you drink, the more susceptible you are to experiencing some level of tooth discoloration, so if you’re wondering how to keep your teeth white without giving up these delicious drinks, consider using a straw to avoid direct contact with your teeth.


Again, we hate to be the one to break it to you, but wine is another culprit of yellowing teeth. Like coffee and black tea, red wine is high in sugar and acid content, in addition to being a dark beverage, which creates the perfect environment for tooth staining. Though white wine is light in color, its sugar and acidic properties still put you at risk of staining your teeth. This is because the acid in grapes, oranges, and many other citrus fruits latches onto your teeth and begins to eat away at the tooth enamel if it is not removed via brushing and flossing. Drinking wine through a straw, no matter how “dorky” it may be, is the best way for winos to avoid staining their teeth, and luckily, there are many different wine straws available online!


The same logic applies to citrus fruits and dark berries. Though these delicious treats contain high levels of vitamin C, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy, balanced diet, they are not the best for your teeth. This goes back to the high sugar and acid content in wine and citrus fruits, which love to hang out on the tooth surface, causing tooth yellowing, stains, and uneven tooth discoloration. Our dentists certainly aren’t here to tell you to cut fruit and veggies out of your diet, so if there’s one tooth-staining food category that you should be sure to include, it’s colorful fruit and veggies!


Tomatoes are another healthy food that are not so great for your teeth, as the dark red color and acid in these tasty veggies (or fruits?) take a particular liking to your tooth enamel. Plus, tomatoes are a popular ingredient that is found in a wide variety of cuisines, from Italian food, like ravioli and spaghetti, to popular Mexican dishes and American condiments like ketchup. This makes it harder to avoid including tomatoes in your diet, so if you’re really concerned about tomatoes staining your teeth, cut down on this veggie when you can and be sure to brush your teeth after eating a dish that includes tomatoes or pasta sauce.


As if you needed another reason to eliminate candy, soda, and sugary sports drinks from your diet, consider the negative effect they have on your teeth. Dark colas are particularly notorious for contributing to tooth discoloration, given that the dark color, when combined with the chemicals and added sugar, can cause your teeth to yellow with time. Because of these unnatural chemicals and excessive amounts of sugar, soda and candy are some of the worst things you can put in your body, period. So, if you’re looking for a natural teeth whitening method, do your body a favor and cut soda out of your diet, as well as other detrimental chemicals like those found in candy, processed foods, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and e-cigarettes.


While our dentists highly recommend cutting down artificial sugar consumption (i.e. soda and candy) for better oral health, there is another way to improve the color of your teeth without cutting down on colorful fruits and veggies. Contact us today to discuss what professional teeth whitening costs here at Trillium Dental in Ottawa, and feel free to reach out to us for recommendations about the best teeth whitening products to use if you wish to do your own teeth whitening at home.

We also offer take-home teeth whitening kits at our Ottawa dental clinic, so feel free to stop by at any time to pick one up and get information about our other cosmetic dentistry treatments. We look forward to meeting you and helping you get that perfect, white smile you’ve been dreaming of!