Playing Ketchup With Tooth Whitening: How Tomatoes Stain Your Teeth

If you are fond of Italian dishes like pizza and pasta, your teeth are at risk of staining. Enamel isn't completely solid. In fact, it is almost completely composed of hydroxyapatite crystals, a combination of phosphate and calcium ions. As a result, the surface of enamel isn't flawless. Instead, it is porous, which means staining molecules can penetrate it, causing discolouration.

Unfortunately for pizza and pasta lovers, or those that like a dollop of ketchup or two with their meals, tomatoes and white teeth don't play well together.

Tomatoes Are Highly Acidic

According to, tomatoes contain 10 different acids. Although several of those acids, such as citric acid and ascorbic acid, are beneficial to your overall health, the high acidity of tomatoes contributes to enamel staining. The acid contained in tomatoes can erode enamel. Naturally, acid erosion makes your teeth more porous than usual, leaving more room for staining particles to penetrate the enamel layer.

Sugar and Tomatoes Are a Potent Mix

When you combine sugar with tomato, the environment in your mouth becomes even more acidic. Ketchup, for example, is high in sugar. As the bacteria in your mouth digest those sugars, they secrete acid, further damaging your enamel. Moreover, ketchup also contains vinegar, yet another acidic compound.

Pasta and pizza bases also comprise of simple sugars that oral bacteria can quickly break down. Add to that the stickiness of pasta and pizza, which causes these foods to cling to the surface of enamel, and you have all the ingredients for staining. The bright red pigment of pasta sauce can penetrate damaged enamel, turning it dark or yellow over time.

Broccoli Protects Teeth

By eating broccoli before a meal that involves pasta, pizza or ketchup, you can equip your teeth with a layer of protection. Broccoli contains vitamin A, a vitamin that your body uses to build enamel. Eating it before consuming foods rich in tomato sauce will help to protect your enamel from high acidity.

In addition, according to a recent study, eating broccoli before an acidic drink, such as lemonade, protects teeth against enamel erosion. Remember, enamel erosion makes it easier for staining molecules to penetrate enamel. However, the findings from the study suggest that the iron content in broccoli helps to form a protective coat that protects against erosion.

If tomato dishes like pasta and pizza feature regularly on your menu, try to eat broccoli before each meal. Moreover, if you feel that your teeth are beginning to stain, you should talk to your dentist about teeth whitening. Act quickly though because enamel erosion can leave teeth very sensitive, meaning the whitening procedure will be more painful than it should be.

For more information, contact a dental office like DI Dental Implant Centre today!

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About Me

How to Brighten Your Smile For many years, I hated the way my teeth looked. They always looked discoloured so I would do everything I could to hide my smile. On family photos, my mom would always complain that I never gave a grin like my brothers and sisters. When I graduated college, I decided I needed to take action. I contacted my local dental surgery and asked them about tooth whitening treatments. The dentist was great and gave me all of the info I needed. After the treatment, my smile was like a million dollars. I decided to start this blog to educate others about the benefits of teeth whitening and other dental treatments.



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