Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you. It helps you look friendly and confident. If your beaming white grin is natural, or if you invested in professional teeth whitening to restore it, the foods and beverages you consume can gradually discolor your teeth, reducing their luster and shine.
Here at Chester Family Dentistry in Warren, Ohio, Ana Chester, DDS and Amy Caicco, DDS not only offer professional teeth whitening treatments but also provide advice on how to maintain your bright white smile.
Stay away from dark foods and beverages
Dark-colored foods and drinks are common culprits of tooth discoloration. For example, red wine, coffee, and sodas have high pigmentation. The deluge of pigments rinsing against your teeth can stain your enamel and make your teeth look yellowish and dull. Dark-colored foods often contain chromogens — compounds with intense pigments that can cling to tooth enamel.
You can slow the effects of discoloration by cutting back on the quantities you consume of the following foods and beverages:
- Dark-colored soft drinks, such as root beer and cola
- Coffee and tea
- Dark beer
- Red wine
- Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
- Food dyes
- Dark-colored condiments, such as balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and curry
Many people think that coffee is the biggest offender when it comes to tooth discoloration. However, many teas have tannins or tannoids. These plant-based compounds help stains stick to your teeth and accelerate tooth discoloration.
Protect your teeth — limit acidic ingredients
The acids found in many delicious foods can increase your dental enamel’s vulnerability to staining. Acidic foods can chemically erode enamel and leave behind rough patches. Rough patches on your enamel not only absorb staining ingredients but also attract bacteria. To add insult to injury, thinning enamel also allows the darker-toned dentin inside your teeth to show.
Some of the most common, highly acidic foods that contribute to dental staining include:
- Dark fruit juices such as cranberry and grape
- Acidic juices, including orange, pineapple, and grapefruit
- Tomato sauce
Good news — some foods neutralize the effects
Even with the best intentions, you won’t be able to avoid all the foods and drinks that cause tooth discoloration. However, you can offset the damage these products cause by eating foods that neutralize the staining effects and help keep your teeth white.
Add these foods to your diet to protect your teeth and keep your smile bright:
- Green vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, and lettuce, deposit a protective barrier on your teeth that can limit foods’ staining effects
- A dash of cows’ milk in your coffee can help protect your teeth from discoloration
- Crunchy foods, such as apples, celery, and carrots, require lots of chewing, which can have an exfoliating effect on your teeth
- Milk and hard cheese can neutralize the acids found in berries
One more tip? Drink dark beverages through a straw to help keep these staining liquids away from your teeth.
Stop using tobacco
Tobacco products are terrible for your health in so many ways. In addition to increasing your risk of cancer, chewing tobacco and cigarettes can produce brownish and yellow teeth and foul-smelling breath. Give up chewing tobacco and smoking to gain both a more attractive smile and a healthier body.
Keep your teeth clean
Keeping your teeth clean can also help reduce the staining effects of the foods you eat. Brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day or after every meal, if possible, and floss at least once a day. If brushing your teeth after every meal isn’t practical, at least take a moment to rinse out your mouth with water. Rinsing can increase your saliva production, which stops food and beverages from sticking to your tooth enamel.
Also, make sure to schedule your routine professional teeth cleaning appointments. At-home dental cleaning is critical to protecting the health and appearance of your teeth, but nothing cleans your teeth as thoroughly as one of our professional hygienists.
Call Chester Family Dentistry at 330-331-9026, or schedule an appointment online today for expert dental care, including teeth whitening and dental cleaning.