A mouthful of healthy, white teeth is a great goal, but a difficult one to obtain given the hurdles and landmines that are around every corner. From colored cheeses to your morning cup of joe, it can be hard to maintain your pearly whites in a sea of staining color.
At Straight Teeth Orthodontics, under the expert oversight of Dr. Scott Evans, we want your smile to be as bright as your personality. This is why we partner with our patients in the Dallas area to help them with their at-home care in between professional cleanings and teeth whitening.
To keep your teeth looking vibrant and white, here are 5 things you’d do well to avoid.
1. Artificial coloring
When you were a kid, it was fun to suck on a lollipop and then stick your blue/red/purple/orange tongue out at your friends. While there may be far fewer lollipops in your diet these days, you might be surprised at how many foods contains artificial coloring. For example, those green pickles aren’t really supposed to be that green, wasabi is colorless, and salmon and tuna are rarely as pink or red as they appear in the store.
In an effort to entice you to buy their products, manufacturers add food coloring to much of what you eat, and this coloring can end up on your teeth. The next time you go shopping, take a good, hard look at the labels to look for artificial coloring.
While artificial coloring may seem like an obvious culprit when it comes to staining teeth, even artificial dyes pale in comparison to acidic foods. Highly acidic foods and drinks wear down your enamel more quickly, allowing foods to get in and stain your teeth. As an example, your spaghetti sauce is double trouble as the acid breaks down your protective enamel, allowing the red color easier access to your unprotected teeth. And sodas also have the same effect, regardless of whether they’re light or dark.
While we’re loathe to tell you to eliminate berries from your diet since they’re chock full of nutrients and antioxidants, the fact is that these fruits can stain your teeth because of their deep colors. But there’s a way to still eat your berries while avoiding staining — rinse with water and don’t let the berries sit in your mouth for too long.
4. Coffee, tea, and wine
Every year, people around the world drink between 400 and 500 billion cups of coffee alone. Throw in tea and wine, and these numbers rise exponentially, as does teeth staining. The problem with these drinks is that they raise the levels of acid in your mouth, which erode your enamel, and then they introduce dark, staining colors that affect your teeth. And consider that these are drinks that you sip slowly, allowing plenty of time for staining.
A great way to bypass this effect is to use a straw whenever possible. While sticking a straw into your wine glass may not work, at the very least you should rinse your mouth with water in between sips.
If you’re a smoker or a tobacco chewer, you knew we were coming to this point. Tobacco contains nicotine and tar, two highly corrosive substances that do more to stain teeth than almost any other food or drink on this list. There are many reasons why should discontinue tobacco use, and we’re going to add stained, yellow teeth to the long list.
While these tips will help you maintain your white teeth, be sure to keep up with your regular cleanings with us. Just give us a call or use the online scheduling tool if you have any questions or you’re overdue for your cleaning.