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Art of Whitening
How to Avoid Teeth Stains from Food and Drink
Poor hygiene is not the only cause of stained teeth. A person’s diet has a lot to do with how sparkly their smile will look. Certain foods and drinks discolor teeth if they are consumed frequently without any consideration. Here are the top 10 worst and some suggestions on how to prevent stains when going head to head with them.
Black coffee may brighten the day in the morning, but it dims teeth. Cutting coffee out of a routine may not be an option, but there are preventive measures that can be taken. Lightening the coffee with milk or cream will reduce the impact of the black coffee in addition to providing the calcium that is necessary for healthy teeth.
The same goes for tea. This is somewhat of a catch 22 because tea is rich in tannins, a compound that attacks bacteria and plaque on the teeth. So it is staining the teeth while simultaneously protecting them from cavities. Switching to herbal, green, or white teas will provide the same health benefits without the staining side effect.
Red wine is another example of an unfortunate catch 22. It contains polyphenols that prevent diseases in the mouth, but these polyphenols are the cause of teeth stains. The alcohol also wears down the enamel that exposes the naturally yellow dentin beneath. For this reason, do not brush the teeth immediately after because the enamel will be soft. To keep the polyphenols and avoid stains, rinse the mouth with water when finished.
Dark colored sodas are another culprit. They not only stain teeth, but they also erode the enamel and cause decay. There is nothing good that comes from soda. However, if you are not ready to give up soda altogether, drink it through a straw. This will prevent some of the direct contact with the teeth.
Cranberry juice and other dark fruit juices contain a lot of pigments that can yellow the teeth. They also have a high sugar content that can damage the teeth as well. Lighter colored juices, such as apple juice, will not discolor the teeth, but they do not have the health benefits associated with cranberry juice. Again, drink it through a straw and rinse out the mouth when finished.
Popsicles may seem like a harmless delight on a hot summer day, but the vibrantly colored sugar sticks are horrid for teeth. The colors and sugar alone are bad, but when combined with the fact that popsicles are ice cold, it is a formula for disaster. When the teeth are extremely cold, the porous surface of the enamel opens up. This allows the stain to penetrate to the inside of the teeth. Instead, try freezing fresh fruit for a refreshing snack. Also, certain Popsicle brands carry popsicles without the dye.
Many of the foods that give a dish its flavor can be hazardous if not approached properly. Soy sauce, tomato sauce, curry, and balsamic vinegar are filled with pigments that will cling to the teeth. However, it takes longer for them to settle enough to cause discoloring. Lettuce has a unique quality that can prevent soy sauce and balsamic vinegar from staining. Simply eat a salad before dinner, and the teeth are protected. Just to be sure though, it’s a good idea to rinse the teeth after the meal.
Blueberries and beets are excellent for the overall health of the body. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but they are also packed with potent pigments. Do not avoid these foods for fear of stained teeth. If the teeth are brushed within an hour, any possible chance of staining goes down the drain.
Avoiding stained teeth is not a difficult task. Use a straw when enjoying a dark colored drink. Don’t drink anything too hot or too cold. Rinse the teeth after enjoying a risky meal. Thankfully, nature tries to balance the scale by creating foods that are natural teeth whiteners. Snacking on apples, broccoli, celery, spinach, and strawberries provides the benefits of a whiter smile without having to entirely cut out the previously mentioned foods. They also have great health benefits that may give you a slimmer waistline to accompany the new shine of your smile.