You’re doing what you can to keep your teeth white:
- Brushing twice daily
- Flossing once per day
- Using an alcohol-free rinse every day
But are you watching out for food and drinks that leave their mark long after you’re done enjoying them? Along with scheduling regular exams and cleanings at one of our Lexington, KY dentist offices, read on for how your grocery list might be derailing your efforts to maintain a bright smile.
Protect White Teeth by Avoiding Acids
Acids are a sneaky source of yellowing since they don’t technically stain your teeth. Instead, acids erode your enamel, allowing the yellow-colored dentin underneath to show through. And dentin cannot be whitened.
Enamel is the toughest substance in the human body, but it isn’t indestructible. And once it’s gone, it’s gone. A number of your favorites snacks are acid-heavy. How many of these are you chowing down on?
- Citrus – Nothing brightens a meal like a fresh squeeze of lemon, but it sure won’t brighten your smile.
- Tomatoes – When Prego says, “It’s in there,” do you think they’re referring to acid?
- White wine – You might think this is a color-friendly alternative to red wine, but white wine is often more acidic than red.
- Soft drinks (even sugar-free!) – Cutting out sugar is a good start, but even diet drinks contains phosphoric acid, citric acid, and tartaric acid. This is one case where three-for-one is a bad deal.
One of the most effective ways to counter and prevent acid erosion is fluoride treatment. In addition to using a fluoridated toothpaste, be sure to visit Beaumont Family Dentistry for a cleaning and polish, topped off with a fluoride treatment.
Chuck the Chromogens and Keep Teeth White
When you think about staining your teeth, you probably picture dark colored foods and drinks. What you’re thinking of is something called chromogens. These are the heavily pigmented compounds that like to stick to your teeth and turn them all kinds of colors – except white, unfortunately. Common foods full of chromogens include:
- Berries – These sweet treats are a waist-friendly alternative to candy, but they’ll still do a number on your smile.
- Pomegranate, cranberry, and grape juice – Some scholars believe the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was a pomegranate. Either way, forbid it from leaving its pigment on your pearly whites.
- Balsamic vinegar – Sticky and dark, this salad dressing favorite has two strikes against it.
- Beets – Beet juice has been used to dye textiles for years, so it’s no surprise it can also be used to dye your mouth.
A thorough cleaning can go a long way in preventing and undoing the effects of stained teeth, but it may not be enough. Cosmetic dentistry options like whitening or veneers can erase the effects of your colorful diet.
Turn Away from Tannins and Ward off Stains
Tannins are accomplices more than criminal offenders. These plant compounds are what enable chromogens to stick to your enamel. That’s why coffee and tea find themselves on so many lists like these. Your morning pick-me-up, whether green tea or black coffee, is full of stain-causing chromogens that are maximized by stain-enabling tannins.
Boost Whitening Power and Reduce Staining Potential
Adding a few mouth-friendly choices to your meal plan can make a big difference in the hue of your teeth.
- Adding in fibrous fruits like pears and apples to your fruit salad can help combat staining from berries. Not only do the fibers help scrub some pigment off, but they also encourage saliva production. Just be sure to brush and floss 30 minutes after eating them to get all that sugar off your chompers.
- Water doesn’t have a teeth whitening effect, but it packs a powerful punch in the fight against enamel destruction. It rinses off offending particles and keeps your saliva flowing.
- Dark green veggies create a film over your teeth, which actually protects them from acid erosion. Who knew spinach teeth could be a good thing?
Make Good, Moderate Choices
We’re never going to tell you to cut out entire food groups, even if that would keep your teeth nice and bright. Enjoying food is part of enjoying life! But limiting your intake of stainers without cutting them out entirely will go a long way toward keeping your teeth white.
If you do get a little too excited about the house wine being served with your favorite tomato sauce, come see us for Zoom! whitening. We’ll get your ivories back to white before you can say, “Now, That’s Italian!”