Few aspects of a person’s appearance draw the kind of positive attention and comments as a beautifully brilliant white smile. Not only will you feel better about yourself, but a mouthful of pearly whites can provide you with the confidence needed to excel in both your personal and professional lives.
Walk down any toothpaste isle and you’ll see a wide variety of products designed to help restore the lacking luster to your smile. But how did your smile become dingy in the first place?
While brushing and flossing daily helps protect the health of your teeth and gums, what you eat and drink daily can impact the health of your smile in a variety of ways. Certain foods and drinks are especially bad for the color of your teeth, and can quickly dim even the brightest of smiles when repeatedly exposed to tooth enamel. Limiting your consumption of these tooth-staining foods and beverages can help you keep the shine to you smile.
Trouble with Tea
Even though tea has the reputation as a beverage full of healthy benefits, the affects the drink has on the whiteness of your teeth may cause you to consider cutting back a cup or two a day. Dentists have been warning patients for years that tea, especially black tea, can cause more damage the to color of their tea than even coffee. Recent studies have also discovered that herbal and white teas offer the potential to not only stain enamel, but also erode enamel.
Despite their delicious nature, many types of darkly colored sauces, such as tomato sauce, soy sauce, and curry sauce, possess significant tooth-staining potential. To reduce your exposure, consider substituting a few lighter colored cream based sauces to your diet and make sure to rinse and brush following the consumption of any darker sauces.
Any type of food or drink that has a high level of acidity can cause tooth discoloration. Recent research has found that acidic drinks such as energy and sports drinks can erode your teeth’s enamel, which set the stage for staining. When exercising, try to limit your consumption of these types of beverages, or make sure to drink plenty of water after working out to rinse away these staining liquids.
Whine about Wine
A good rule of thumb when trying to decide if a beverage contains tooth-staining potential is to consider what would happen if it were spilled onto a white tablecloth. Red wine, which contains incredibly pigmented particles called chromogens and tannins, has a notorious reputation for tooth discoloration. However, red and white are both highly acidic as well, which can also contribute to stains.
Like wine, many types of berries contain pigmented molecules that stick to your teeth’s enamel. Dark or vibrantly colored berries, like blackberries, blueberries, pomegranates, and cherries, can cause the most damage, but even lighter berries such as white cranberries and grapes can stain teeth due to their high acid content. After consuming any type of berry, it’s important that you rinse or brush to remove these damaging molecules from your teeth.
Nearly every type of carbonated beverage can lead to serious tooth discoloration due to the acidic nature and chromegens these types of drinks contain. Light-colored sodas also contain enough acidity that they can help other tooth-staining foods cause even more damage to the color of your smile. According to dentist, some darker colored sodas have a more intense affect on tooth enamel than battery acid due to the flavor additives they contain.
There are several steps you can take to reduce the affect tooth-staining beverages have on the color of your teeth. When drinking tea, juice, or soda, try drinking out of a straw instead of directly from the glass or bottle. Sipping through a straw allows the liquids to enter the mouth while bypassing your front teeth where the majority of staining occurs.
Instead of savoring the flavor of these types of liquids by letting them rest in your mouth, try to consume them quickly as the less time your teeth are exposed to these harmful substances, the less damage they will do.
Finally, remember that moderation is always the key, and to drink plenty of water.
A freelance writer, Timothy Lemke has his teeth whitened by Dr. Bruno da Costa, a dentist in Beaverton, Oregon at Harmony Dental.